Sustainable development objectives are broad, and in order to deliver them, organisations must focus on specific issues. One way to do this is through indicators, which quantify and illustrate important performance issues. Return on equity, profit before taxation and cost/income ratios are widely recognised as key financial indicators of business performance. They are broad-brush, highly-aggregated statistics that summarise the overall picture. Organisations use indicators to determine business strategy, and stakeholders use them to judge how well a business is performing. CFS intends that the indicators within this Report should be used in the same way; that is, to inform strategic decisions within the business and to help Partners assess whether, when judged against the benchmarks presented in this Report, CFS is achieving the broader objectives of sustainable development. Of course, conflicts of interest will arise; for example, situations where progressing one indicator will mean hindering development of another. Judgements, therefore, need to be made by Partners about how to reconcile the benefits of delivering value, social responsibility and ecological sustainability.
According to conventional business wisdom, indicators should meet a number of criteria referred to as SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Whilst endorsing these general characteristics, CFS also believes that:
delivering value indicators should be based on focused consultation with those Partners most affected. Follow this link to the Delivering Value section;
social responsibility indicators should be informed by the widest possible dialogue. Follow this link to the Social Responsibility section; and
ecological sustainability indicators should be based on sound scientific principles. Follow this link to the Ecological Sustainability section.
Indicators can be derived from a variety of sources. To aid understanding and navigation, next to each of the 87 indicators described overleaf is a 'derivation tag', which is based on the following classifications:
Partner - indicators derived from specific consultation with Partners, and based on their stated priorities;
Strategy - 'leadership' indicators derived from CFS' business strategy;
Standard - indicators derived from various emerging ethical and sustainability standards and guidelines (with further details on CFS' website i).
During 2003, CIS and the bank have been working towards a series of targets set out in previous sustainability reports.
There is always room for improvement, which is why, in this indicators' section, there are also details of over 60 new CFS targets set for 2004 and beyond.
Assurance on the data and commentary detailed within this Report is provided by justassurance, in accordance with the AA1000 Assurance Standard. Follow this link for the auditors' assurance statement