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Book review: the MultiCapital scorecard: rethinking organisational performance (2016) By Dr. Kuntal Goswami

Authors:
  • Australian Centre for Sustainable Development Research & Innovation (ACSDRI)

Abstract

Abstract The book is a self-help guide on how to assess organisation’s internal social, economic and environmental performance based on their internal goals, and stakeholders’ expectations.
B O O K R E V I E W Open Access
Book review: the MultiCapital scorecard:
rethinking organisational performance
(2016)
Kuntal Goswami
Correspondence: kuntal@acsdri.com
Australian Centre for Sustainable
Development Research &
Innovation (ACSDRI) & South Asian
Institute of Sustainable
Development (SAISD), Unit 36 / 21
South Tce, Adelaide, South Australia
5000, Australia
Abstract
The book is a self-help guide on how to assess organisations internal social,
economic and environmental performance based on their internal goals, and
stakeholdersexpectations.
Keywords: Holistic sustainability, Multi-capital scorecard, Organisational performance
Sustainability is the goal and sustainable development is the process, however, the
million-dollar question is how we might measure the level of holistic sustainability per-
formance (economic, environment and social) of our business. In order to answer this
question Martin P. Thomas and Mark W. McElroy theorised Multi-Capital Scorecard
to measure level of sustainability performance in an organisational context. The au-
thors proposed organisation to conduct a self-assessment of its impact and to adopt
target driven steps to improve its accountability. These steps initiate the process of
stakeholder engagement and roles out the plan to adopt requisite sustainability steps.
The book has highlighted various reasons why we need the Multi-Capital Score-
card. Some of the reasons for which we need this scorecard are for: reputation man-
agement, stakeholder engagement, and organizational learning. However, the most
compelling reason the authors have put forwarded is Evolving Norm. In this context
authors mentioned that scorecard asks organisations to set sustainability per-
formance standards. Related norms are made explicit and subjected to periodic review.
Regardless of the sustainability agenda, aligning performance norms to the needs of
stakeholders is no simple matter, and the Multi-Capital Scorecard offers a practical so-
lution for how to perform this essential management risk .
Hence, the book is a self-help guide on how to assess organisations internal social,
economic and environmental performance based on their internal goals, stakeholders
expectations. However, to reduce the subjectivity of scorecard system the book devotes
a whole chapter on materiality. Hence the book is an excellent piece of work and ad-
dressed how to account for those normally unaccountable aspects of holistic sustain-
ability. It explains how to:
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Asian Journal o
f
Sustainabilit
y
and Social Res
p
onsibilit
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Goswami Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility (2020) 5:8
https://doi.org/10.1186/s41180-020-00037-0
1) scope and ascertain Materiality aspect of sustainability accounting;
2) determine Areas of Impacts (AOIs) of an organisation; and
3) implement the Scorecard.
The book has 10 chapters and some of the highlights of each chapters as follows:
Chapter-1: The chapter explained the need for Multi-Capital scorecard. The authors
argue that by adopting their prescribed scorecard model organisations can: address en-
vironmental and social challenges, improve adaptive capacity and stakeholder engage-
ment techniques. In addition, the model can also assist organisations to bring about
qualitative improvement in management information system, organisational learning
process and safeguard reputation management.
Chapter-2: The second chapter introduces readers with the concept of capital and its
six vital categorisations such as natural capital, human capital, social and relationship
capital, constructed capital, internal economic capital, external economic capital. In
the end the concept of context-based sustainabilityis introduced.
Chapter-3: The chapter provided theoretical as well as operational methodology of
the Multi-Capital Scorecard. The authors presented detail steps to practitioners on
how to apply performance scoring mechanism as well as how to report performance.
Chapter-4: This chapter dealt with practice of the Multi-Capital Scorecard in respect
to financial performance.
Chapter-5 & 6: Both these chapters provided practical demonstration of the Multi-
Capital Scorecard in the context of single and group companies.
Chapter7 & 8: These chapters educated readers with two important challenging
topics relating to measurement: materiality and how to measure intangibles. Chapter 7
explained absolute & relative materiality concepts and provided materiality template
for social, economic and environmental performance measurement. Chapter-8 dis-
cussed how to apply the Multi-Capital Scorecard in the context of intangibles such as
brand.
Chapter 9: The chapter discussed few contemporary key topics such as Integrated
Reporting; Multi-Capital Scorecard in relation to the Integrated Reporting, Double-
Loop Learning, and External Assurance.
Chapter-10: The concluding chapter provided a broad overview on how Multi-Capital
Scorecard works and tried to close intellectual gaps between academics and practi-
tioners, and bridged interest of shareholders and other stakeholders.
Finally, in the appendix the book has provided foundational theory explaining how to
use of context-based metrics and other thought-provoking intellectual concepts.
Acknowledgements
I thanks Mr Martin P. Thomas one of the authors of the book for giving me the opportunity to review this book.
Authorscontributions
The Book Review is written by Dr Kuntal Goswami on request of the author Mr Martin P. Thomas. The author(s) read
and approved the final manuscript.
Funding
No external Funding. (Self-funded).
Goswami Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility (2020) 5:8 Page 2 of 3
Availability of data and materials
Not Applicable.
Competing interests
No Competing Interest.
Received: 13 September 2019 Accepted: 14 April 2020
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Goswami Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility (2020) 5:8 Page 3 of 3
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