Letter from the Partners

This report reflects upon our journey in sustainability consulting. After more than 15 years, BSD is now entering an important stage for development, yet we are still a young company in spirit and energy. After a phase of internal development and growth, we are ready to deliver our solutions and support to companies and organizations, across a wide range of sectors and countries, in tackling the challenges of sustainability.

This report is a special report in that it not only reflects our performance in 2013, but looks back on how it all began 15 years earlier. In 1998, the first BSD offices were founded in Brazil and Switzerland with the aim of building a bridge between the emerging ethical consumer market in Europe and the sustainable production sites in Latin America. The integration of these two worlds at the crossroad of business and sustainable development created a new field of action and, after having begun operations in Colombia, the BSD Group was officially founded in 2007 as a common clearing house for knowledge, methodologies and a unique approach to sustainability consulting.

Since then, more offices have joined the Group and today we work with 11 offices and over 70 consultants. All our consultants are enthusiasts for sustainability and try to create positive impact through their daily work. Impact has undoubtedly been effected by our capacity building activities, be it in customized client workshops or through our official trainings, such as the certified Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) training. BSD Consulting is a key training partner of the GRI, having been responsible for the development of local content for various countries and regions and having trained hundreds of participants in the art of disclosing the sustainability performance of their organizations.

We can indeed affirm that reporting is not an easy exercise, and we know that our own report will be exposed to many critical readers. After a first unpublished internal C-level report for the reporting period 2011, the BSD Group released this report publicly in order to put the spotlight on ourselves, not only to measure what we have done, but also to commemorate and define clear objectives for further improvements.

In this report, we endeavour to highlight our impact, trying to answer the question “in the end, what is our work in sustainability all about?” We know that there may be no definite answers to this question, but our attempts to answer it left us motivated to continue the search. We believe that our work has effected change in the currency with which our clients measure their own success, moving from a focus on financial results only to that of economic, social and environmental practices.

However this report is not only focused on the impact our work achieves, but also on the sustainability of our operations. As signatories of the UN Global Compact, all BSD offices adhere to the 10 principles and try to demonstrate progress in implementing best practices on each of our ends: at both the global Group and the local office levels. With this report, we have also accounted for how we are implementing the principles. And in the 'Looking Ahead' sections we share how we want to respond in the coming two years (2014/2015) to our major gaps and challenges.

Creating impact is our driving force and we know that it demands not only enthusiasm, but innovative solutions, capacities and experience. These make up the backbone of BSD Consulting as we continue our journey and look forward to the next 15 years of exciting development.