Partner and Stakeholder Engagement on the 2006-07 Sustainability Report

When our first Sustainability Report (2005-06) was released, we followed it up with an engagement process, conducted by an external consultant, to assess the extent to which VANOC’s partners and stakeholders found the first report to a useful accountability tool.

Key recommendations for improving the accountability of the report have resulted in the following changes to the 2006-07 report: 

  • A separate summary is available, and there is additional content on the website. 
  • We identified the challenges that VANOC is addressing to strengthen our sustainability performance. 
  • To help convey the linkages needed for an integrated approach to sustainability, we describe the Sustainability Connection for each performance objective. 
  • Where possible, we use quantitative metrics and focus on quantifiable measures in our performance summary. 
  • To help add context, we include a chart comparing the 2010 Winter Games sustainability-related initiatives and commitments to those of other Games. We are the first Games to build structure and reporting around all aspects of sustainability. 
  • We moved up our timing for third-party report assurance provider, from solely covering 2009-2010 to covering both 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Stakeholders were largely satisfied with the consultation process, but asked for earlier involvement next time. As a result, we decided to conduct another stakeholder engagement process in October 2007, asking for feedback on a draft of the 2006-07 report.

Approximately 35 people representing 18 organizations participated in the October 2007 consultations on that report, which included focus groups and interviews. Participants included the general public; members of the VANOC workforce; members of the inner-city, environmental, sustainability, persons with a disability, labour and human rights communities; VANOC’s partners (the three levels of government and Four Host First Nations); other Aboriginal groups and VANOC’s multi-stakeholder Board Advisory Committee on Sustainability Performance.

Approach to consultation

We targeted individuals and organizations involved with VANOC and somewhat familiar with our sustainability activities. The scope of the consultation was clearly communicated in invitations and a three-page fact sheet. After signing confidentiality agreements, participants received draft chapters most relevant to their interests. Our consultant conducted focus groups and phone interviews to obtain feedback.

A template was used to elicit comments, using nine questions under nine evaluation criteria derived from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines and AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard. The nine evaluation criteria included:

  1. Relevance 
  2. Usefulness as an accountability tool
  3. Sustainability context 
  4. Completeness 
  5. Accuracy 
  6. Balance 
  7. Clarity of presentation 
  8. Responsiveness 
  9. Stakeholder consultation

“It's all very process-oriented; would like to see more on outputs and impacts.”
-Heather Scholefield, Manager, University of British Columbia Sustainability Strategy

“Last year I said we needed more metrics and numbers. I feel as though I’ve been heard.”
-Amy Clausen, Ceremonies, VANOC Workforce

Key recommendations to stakeholder feedback, and our responses, are summarized below.

As a performance reporting tool, it is unclear what time frame you are reporting on. You should also more clearly establish what your future goals are, to give a better sense of how this year’s activities fit into the bigger picture; show more of the outputs and impacts.

In our 2006-07 Sustainability Report, we have more clearly delineated the fact that this performance relates to the fiscal year of 2006-07 only. Accordingly, in this report we also try to more clearly indicate our outputs and impacts, as well as what we hope to achieve in the coming 2007-08 reporting period. Where possible, we indicate our final legacy goals.

Show more clearly how stakeholder involvement shapes your reporting structure. Make that more evident on your website as well. Consider having a stand-alone link to stakeholder participation with summaries of involvement, lists of groups, opportunities to participate, etc.

Besides the Input and Engagement boxes in each chapter, we have created an engagement summary, and inserted it into the Accountability chapter. We like the idea of a stand-alone stakeholder link and will incorporate it into our website.

Try to reach additional stakeholders (the media and general public) with the information in this report and show its relevance to them. How many people actually know the Vancouver Organizing Committee has these commitments? Consider creating a user-friendly hard copy of the Executive Summary.

In response, we have developed a separate Sustainability Snapshot that highlights our achievements and challenges in the last reporting period. This Snapshot will be distributed to the public and other stakeholders.

Prepare a strong Executive Summary to accompany the “scorecard” and move the scorecard further forward in the report.

Carefully design and format your report to make the chapter structure and various elements more apparent, especially to delineate the subheadings/topics.

Consider the idea of keeping a core Sustainability Report, but put additional information on the website.

We have pared detailed technical material (such as tables) from this report and put those, along with additional background information, onto our website.

Make changes to ensure the Vancouver 2010 sustainability website is better known and used; keep it current, updated and interactive.

In conjunction with this report, we will be updating our website with current information. We are also exploring ways to make our website more interactive.

From a completeness and balance point of view, this report is more balanced than last year’s, but we would still like to see more of the obstacles you face, an acknowledgement of the broader context (for example, economic boom, housing) and a sense of what is possible within the scope of the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee. Also, do a better job of educating about sustainability.

This year’s report includes more discussion on the challenges we face. Our reporting scope is clearly defined in the Introduction. However, acknowledging and addressing the broader context surrounding the Games within the confines of a single report is difficult because we collaborate with so many partners, stakeholders and sponsors. In Chapter 6: Sport for Sustainable Living, we have incorporated more information on our sustainability education efforts, including our education website /EDU.

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