Getting started with your Sustainability reporting
0. Overview Sustainability reporting
Organisations embarking on the sustainability reporting journey would do well to establish a sustainability reporting cycle, setting out what needs to be done, how, when and by whom.
There are four stages to the sustainability reporting cycle and these form the basis for the structure of this project guide:
- who is accountable and responsible,
- the processes for identifying material sustainability-related information for reporting purposes,
- determining, collecting and reporting the data, and
- considerations for verification that can lead to continual improvement of reporting
When undertaking sustainability reporting, there may well be instances when working on one stage may necessitate considering another stage or parts within a stage. For instance, new information discovered when collecting data for reporting may prompt the organisation to revisit the identification of sustainability-related risks and opportunities (SRROs) that could reasonably be expected to affect the organisation’s prospects or material information about those SRROs. Beyond reporting, the organisation may also revisit its strategy for managing its SRROs.
In support of a simpler engagement, this project guide such that each stage can be engaged with independently of another. Where relevant, links or outlines to key interconnected content from other stages are included. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It is therefore important to take time to work through the suggested processes, then design processes appropriate to your organisation and implement them.
It’s also essential to reflect and return to the cycle to build in continual improvement. Those designing and implementing processes for the first time may wish to engage with this guide’s content piecemeal, and all are encouraged to return regularly to its key messages.
1. Allocating Responsibility and Establishing the Landscape for Sustainability reporting
Sustainability reporting is a subset of corporate reporting which, in turn, is essentially about accountability and communication. Whereas the corporate reporting focus has previously been on financial reporting, today’s approach incorporates sustainability reporting, which provides a more holistic view of the organisation.
In addition, before charting a path and making key decisions, it is important, to understand and evaluate where the organisation currently stands in relation to sustainability reporting and the environment in which it is operating.