Over 90% of S&P 500 companies release annual sustainability reports, which help investors to have a deeper look at their operations and make informed decisions on whether to invest in them or not. Well, it is not just the leading brands that are focusing on sustainability. Rather, sustainability is a new understanding, a force, a reality, and a way of doing things being pushed by stakeholders. We call it “new” because, although the concept has been around since 1992 when the UN Conference on Environment and Development was held in Rio de Janeiro, the application in businesses is pretty new.
ESG sustainability reporting is the process of disclosure of a company’s environmental, social, and governance impacts and the efforts it makes towards addressing related issues. As more companies join and start the process of sustainability reporting, one of the questions that you might want to ask is, “What is a good report?” In this post, we will demystify ESG reporting by checking the most important components. We will also tell you why you should work with the best environmental management software.
In addition to collecting the data on sustainability, which is no simple task, you need to put a lot of effort into making the report transparent. In some cases, managers fear that their information might reflect poorly on the organization or people. Others hold the view that competitors might benefit from it.
A good report should have both context and parameters. This means that if your company reported it managed to cut water use by 20%, the reader should be able to tell within what period and how. The information should be supported by data. This is why you should work with an appropriate ESG sustainability reporting framework to capture the data correctly. Well, do not leave the stakeholder, whether client or investor, in doubt about the information presented on the report.
When preparing an ESG sustainability report, it is important to appreciate that it is meant for stakeholders. You need to consider what they want as opposed to what you as a manager or entrepreneur anticipate, but how do you achieve this? Even before getting started with the process, it is paramount to identify all stakeholders and engage them to determine their interests. This proves that the company is connected and willing to change in line with emerging demands.
If your customers and targeted investors indicate that you prioritize new product development to meet the shifting market demands, this should be the direction to follow. The good thing is that there is so much that you can do to promote sustainability. If stakeholders prefer new products, you can focus on the types that are more sustainable. This way, they will be there to buy and promote the brand.
When the report is finally released, the targeted audience should be able to get the information of interest easily. If it is hard to read, there is a risk of some of the information not getting noticed. Consider breaking the report into parts, such as People, Planet, and Economy, and add crucial information related to each layer. Consider special highlights and summaries to brief the reader on what to expect inside the report. You might want to check several other reports from other companies and try to make yours better.
These are the primary elements that you should have in your report to get the targeted impact. Remember that after creating the report, the effort for the subsequent reporting period should build on the current achievements. However, this should not be difficult to link, especially when using top-rated sustainability reporting software such as Diginex.