5 steps to sustainability reporting

Transparency is the heart of the matter
PostedOctober 16, 2013, in  Step 3: self assessment
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Fact: at the moment we use 150% of the maximum capacity of the Earth. We produce and consume more than is sustainable, with a growing pile of waste as a result. This cannot continue indefinitely. We need sustainable innovations. This is not just an environmental issue, but is also economically and politically important. For businesses, communicating transparently a basic requirement, but how do you do that? Find out how to make a sustainability report in 5 steps.  

The Sustainability Challenge (source: GRI)

New reality

Sustainability reporting is not new: the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) have existed since 2000. They clearly explain how sustainability reporting can be created, but also how to implement this kind of reporting. Although support for sustainability reporting is growing - even the British Crown Prince Charles has spoken in favour of it - there is still much progress to make. For those who still have doubts about the usefulness and necessity of sustainability reporting: this is not a temporary whim, but the new reality. Doing business mean adapting to changing circumstances. The success of business and sustainability are interlinked.

5 steps

‘Ok, I understand, but how will we go about it?’, sighs many CEO. A clear roadmap offers a solution:

Step 1 | Prepare

Determine the theme of the report for the year: will the focus be waste and resource management, supply chain management or even the internal policies? Write a project plan with deadlines and milestones connected to the business planning. Organise a kick off meeting.

Step 2 | Connect

Identify which managers will 'carry' the reporting project. Who will provide data and content for the report? Who are involved from the finance and audit department, and who will approve the report? Make sure you know who your stakeholders are, but also what sustainability topics they embrace. After the kick off, during the whole project, organise meetings to ensure everyone understands what the purpose and progress is. Involving stakeholders increases your chances to complete the project successfully!

Step 3 | Define

Identify management’s main internal and external objectives and what is material to report on to the outside world. Make sure there is support for that, but also that sufficient time and resources are made available.

Step 4 | Monitor

Check if all improvement projects and processes, particularly related to the material issues, are on track. Collect data early, so performance can be evaluated and explained on time. Where necessary set or adjust goals.

Step 5 | Report

Write the report based on actual performance. Use the data provided, but also do some research. Interview project managers to make underlying decision-making processes transparent. Publish a report where everything comes together in a comprehensive way. Finally, do not forget to ask the readers for feedback!  

Want to know more about implementing sustainability reporting? Please contact us.  

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PostedOctober 16, 2013, in Step 3: self assessment
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