Is your company interested in writing a sustainability report? Here are four critical things a business must have before getting started. These will ensure your team is not spending endless amounts of time and energy in putting together a document that could lack in quality and negatively impact the image of the brand with the publication.
When compiling a sustainability report, it is critical to have an agreed upon approach or governance structure within the company by which topics concerning Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) are discussed. Without such a structure environmental activity can be perceived as simply anecdotal and aspirational, which could reduce the trust and confidence of the product.
Things to consider: Department responsible for sustainability, internal structures that address topics and business areas impacted by this approach, and members of the executive team members involved in the process.
What figures are being tracked by the company when it comes to major areas of sustainability: energy use, water use, supply chain performance, health and social policies which ensure employee wellbeing, technological advancements that demonstrate the quality of the product, materials used in the business, and other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can affirm the current performance of the company.
Things to consider: Disclosing material topics that directly and indirectly affect the business and its stakeholders, tables to disclose the use of raw resources, list of policies that impact the health and wellbeing of employees, and community partnerships.
How is your company planning on structuring the disclosure of its sustainability information? Answering this question is critical for determining the structure of the report. Depending on the industry requirements, readership audience, and available information a company can choose from a number of reporting standards. These include, but are not limited to: Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
Providing a dynamic look at the company’s impact on its internal and external stakeholders is best demonstrated through stories. First person accounts of individuals, groups and organizations that benefitted from the activities of the business can be highlighted throughout the report. Such details provide insights into the various ways the activities of the organization benefit and improves the communities of people not directly involved in the business.
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