Arcadis uses the Global Reporting Initiatives framework
as a measure of sustainability because it’s the most widely used framework in the
wold (Arcadis, 2016). In 2015 they submitted data to the Dow Jones Index (DJSI)
for an independent review of their business on a range of areas identified as
important for sustainability. They recorded a 27% improvement to previous year
which indicates ‘the extent to which the firm embraces economic, environmental,
social and governance factors into its operations’ (Artiach et al., 2010).  The importance of measuring performance is
reflected in the increasing prominence of indicators in corporate
sustainability reports. Furthermore, Christopher Greenwald (head of sustainability
investing research at RoboecoSAM), said, “the DJSI can be seen as an initial
process to help companies better understand the business value of their
sustainability performance and business success, it plays a role in directing
capital and increasing investments in sustainability by companies and
investors.” So the importance of the framework means that annual reports are
necessary to show improvement in their green attitude, to maximise their
credibility for more profit in the long-run and build public trust.




Criticism of the TBL


After exploring the different ways Arcadis operates to
ensure that sustainability is at the forefront of their operations, we can
begin to see how the Triple Bottom Line relates to their strategies. However,
this approach is not the be-all and end-all as there are several criticisms of
TBL that are listed in this essay, primarily its non-systematic approach and
compliance/ranking mechanism.

First, the
measurement of TBL is complex so not all factors of a business are listed on to
create an overall sustainability value. This is because of the range of factors
required and some of the intangible assets such as loyalty or reputation that can
be obscure thus creating difficultly to identify changes in those areas in the
short term. Albeit the values obtained through measurement can be
representative to the company but also doubtful; purely due to the level of
unreliability of the values (Sridhar, Jones, 2013). Second, the Global Report
Initiative set the framework for corporate sustainability and consist of
numerous guidelines of 79 performance indicators for quantitative and qualitative
reporting whereby companies such as Arcadis get to choose those that are
important to them which can lead to the issue of indicative reporting (Moneva,
et al. 2006). This creates a bias as the companies only evaluate the areas that
are favourable to them rather than the ones necessary to rate sustainable
operation but their weak areas of the company may not be considered, as it
could lead to bad publicity.

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Despite efforts to reach the bottom lines
of sustainability, there are still environmental and social issues that emerged
within the corporate sustainability of companies like Arcadis as they work on
projects at such enormous scales. Environmental aspects of products in the
building industry are examples of this. The building industry is confronted
with regulations on fuel and energy efficiency labelling from the heavy use of
machineries that can be found in Part L of building regulation specifically for
conservation of fuel and power. For example, in the UK the total energy production
was 9% higher than in 2014 (, 2017). So they have to be rigorous with
long term goals under the energy performance of building directive to move towards
‘nearly zero energy buildings’ (Schimschar, et el., 2011 pp.
3346-3360). These high standards can therefore be achieved through schemes such
as BREEAM, Pasivhaus, the code for sustainable homes and LEED. Arcadis’ efforts
to conform to low energy consumptions in their operations includes offering
cutting-edge solutions that support innovations, having a focus on alternative
energy by using green energy systems lead by solar, wind and hydropower
investments. However, some may argue that the energy consumption they use when
building contributes a great deal to the climate thus adding onto the global
warming of our planet.


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