Effective Sustainability Reporting Can Make Good Businesses Great

by | Aug 31, 2015

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sustainability diagram Environmental LeaderCompanies that are identified as socially responsible and have clearly defined missions become “great” business, according to an article in Harvard Business Review. EHS Insight provides an overview of the internal and external benefits of sustainability reporting and outlines how businesses can establish an effective reporting process.

The internal benefits of sustainability reporting include gaining an increased understanding of risks and opportunities within your company, which not only helps the company to operate more efficiently and streamline costs, it also helps it to develop strategic, long-term environmental health and safety (EHS) initiatives and policies.

External benefits of consistently publishing a sustainability report include building trust and reputation through transparent reporting, which in turn helps to increase brand loyalty.

Begin the sustainability reporting process by selecting a team that will be responsible for carrying out the project and providing team members with the resources they need to understand sustainability standards.

The sustainability team should begin by identifying who will provide feedback on the main points of the report and decide how communication will happen between the team and the various stakeholders.

Once the key stakeholders have been identified, the team can start planning the content of the report by identifying the sustainability topics and metrics that are relevant to the company and then narrowing that list based on the company’s values and mission. The final list should be presented to the organization’s senior management for review and approval.

To ensure quality data collection, the sustainability team should develop an internal process for reporting, establish reporting targets and methods of data collection, and make sure that all systems and procedures are consistent.

Once the data has been collected, the team should decide how best to present the data and in what context and prepare the report, gathering additional feedback as necessary throughout the process.

Global consultancy Corporate Citizenship recently identified developments happening within the reporting landscape that will change the way businesses view and use sustainability reporting in the coming years.

Photo credit: sustainability diagram via Shutterstock.

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