WNSF Board Profile: Helle Bank Jorgensen

Helle Bank Jorgensen -photoBrand Accountability Corp.’s New CEO Measures to Manage

You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

That could well be the motto of Helle Bank Jorgensen, the new CEO of Brand Accountability Corp., a global leading advisor in corporate accountability management, sustainable performance strategies and integrated reporting, headquartered in Toronto.

Whether it’s financial, environmental, stakeholder or other integrated data, Jorgensen, an accountant and business lawyer by training, has always believed in ensuring “the right things to measure in the right way.”

“It’s so easy in financial reporting,” continues Jorgensen, also a WNSF board member. “After all, finance is based on numbers. But add data from environmental, ethical, trust, commercial and social performance indicators and external data traditionally viewed as externalities, and the going gets tougher.

A pioneer in sustainable performance metrics and integrated reporting, which merges economic, commercial, environmental and social data, Jorgensen contributed to the first environmental report in the world and years later on the first integrated report in the word. She was instrumental in building the Sustainable Business Solution practices at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in her native Denmark and in the US.

At Brand Accountability, Jorgensen plans to bring sustainable performance “to the next level, where accountability equals profitability. With our proprietary methodology, software solution and strategic management services, we can help companies integrate sustainability into core operations, tie it to performace, incentives and strategic goals, and show how sustainability is a key contributing factor to protect and enhance brand value and profitability. In addition with our proprietary software solution companies can report this value creation externally,” either in integrated reports or reports based on guidelines from the Global Reporting Initiative, UN Global Compact, Carbon Disclosure Project, or requirements from customers, among others.

Information in this form can also be blended into integrated reports, so that “companies get much more profitability, sustainability and brand value protection with fewer resources. Some great business leaders even call us the missing link!” she adds.

That approach should help solve what she sees as one of the next big challenges for business, namely “how to move to integrated models, compare integrated reports, how to compare companies in the same industry and across industries,” while recognizing each company’s unique features, she says.

What Brand Accountability can add to the equation is an elegant system to helping companies with integrated planning, managing and reporting of all the KPI’s that contribute to brand value: financial, environmental, operational, human, supply chain, etc.,” Jorgensen says.

At the base of that work is the company’s integrated management and reporting system, spotlighted by Gartner Group last spring, which serves as a repository and interconnection system for data from within an organization and its value chain.

With that system Brand Accountability can “help companies achieve integrated accountability, maximize profitability and mitigate risk by using the integrated dashboards across the corporation. The dashboards and reports to can link to external sources like GRI, customers, shareholders, etc., that are based on the same documented sources,” Jorgensen says.

“Being accountable to your stakeholders is a must in the 21st century,” she continues. “In order to be accountable, manage your company and report to all your stakeholders, you need to be able to measure and report in an auditable and transparent way”.

“So basically I’m heading a company that has a global leading product and service which is becoming more and more essential for all companies, especially those that want to protect and enhance their brand value which today is business value.”

She adds that integrated business and reporting is the future, not just because it’s the right thing to do but because it is the most profitable. It’s a way to get all brand practices valued–and it’s easier and in the long run it can be cheaper with a single report.”

Currently, companies may segregate some key information in the sustainability report that in fact may have significant financial value, but “not all make the connection,” she remarks.

In the current weak economy, companies have “few resources to choose between different things,” to incorporate sustainability into the fundamental business case is a move to both save money and create more value.

That goes for companies around the world, whether based in Europe, Asia, the Americas or elsewhere, she says: “There’s no part of the world where companies are more advanced than others. There are lots of interesting things happening in different parts of the world. It’s individual companies that are global leaders.”

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