Visualize That: The Impact of Source Documentation and Data Visualization on CSR Analysis

What happens to our understanding of company's sustainability rank when they have to share the source of their data?
Nov 2, 2011 3:48 PM ET

Posted by Reynard Loki

When it comes to connecting the environmental and business sides of sustainability, ultimately it's a numbers game

In the first part of this two-part interview,I discussed with Benjamin Whitney, Lead Analyst at Justmeans, how the new program Justmeans Insights is changing how we understand corporate ESG (environment, social and governance) performance and global rankings. The following second part dives deeper into the true power of data visualization and demonstrates the impact of this new tool. I've also included some of the graphics that I made using the tool.

Reynard Loki: Data has got to be one of the most important linkages here because ultimately, in order to avoid the various "perfect storm" scenarios when it comes to climate change, for example, what we're trying to do is very data-specific: get the Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide level back to 350 ppm to prevent the planetary surface temperature from increasing more than 2 degrees Celsius. Fundamentally, it's a numbers game.

Benjamin Whitney: Absolutely. In terms of true environmental sustainability, it's a thermodynamic process with a very scientific base that's driven by data, data analysis and numerical computation. So somehow, we have to bring together the business side and environmental side of sustainability. We already have a numerical, analytical process for environmental sustainability. Now that's got to carry over to environmental and CSR performance in the market.

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Reynard Loki is a Justmeans staff writer for Sustainable Finance and Corporate Social Responsibility. A former media executive with 15 years experience in the private and non-profit sectors, Reynard is the co-founder of MomenTech, a New York-based experimental production studio that explores transnational progressivism, neo-nomadism, post-humanism and futurism. He is also author of the blog 13.7 Billion Years, covering cosmology, biodiversity, animal welfare, conservation and ethical consumption. He is currently developing the Underground Desert Living Unit (UDLU), a sustainable single-family dwelling envisioned as a potential adaptation response to the future loss of human habitat due to the effects of anthropogenic climate change.