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Sustainability reporting is merciless – it reveals what businesses don’t wish to share

Even though sustainability-related efforts are carried out year-round, the turn of the year is a particularly busy time for experts in sustainability and corporate responsibility. More and more businesses are planning the content and implementation of their sustainability reporting. The period of data collection is here, and businesses need to know the details that will be included in the reports.

 

Astounding increase in the value of sustainability reporting

Compiling an annual sustainability report might seem like an annoying chore that businesses would simply want to get it done. However, the value and significance of sustainability reporting have increased rapidly in recent times. Financial data alone is no longer sufficient in describing the value creation of businesses; sustainability data, also known as ESG (environmental, social and governance) data, is also necessary.

A sustainability report compiles a comprehensive review of the current state of sustainability in the company’s business, the actions taken and the requirements for further development. It describes the risks caused by climate change that impact the success of the business as well as the company’s long-term goals in line with sustainable development toward which the company is systematically working. It would be a mistake to think that the content in sustainability reports is just routinely merely empty words.

Sustainability reports contain hard facts and analyses that the company can use in responding to the increasing expectations and diverse information needs of various stakeholders.

 

Does the reporting process support the creation of a high quality report?

Strengthening the significance of sustainability reporting motivates the people working on the report. On the other hand, it also places more pressure on the content and, as a result, the success of the entire reporting process.

Towards the end of the year at the latest, we recommend evaluating and discussing whether the value of sustainability reporting has been genuinely understood in your company. Do you have access to sufficient competence, experts, time resources and authorisations to compile the required set of hard facts and analyses?

Have you involved relevant representatives from different units in the process to provide the needed sustainability data? It is important for the representatives of different units to report the development of sustainability in their responsibility areas in proportion to the set goals. Is the cooperation with the financial unit efficient? The development of reporting requires close cooperation between the professionals in sustainability and finance.

 

Revealing sustainability reporting

Sustainability reporting is merciless. It can even reveal things about the operations that the company might not wish to see or share with their external stakeholders.

It uncovers whether sustainability has been genuinely integrated into the business. It exposes whether the value and significance of sustainability reporting to the company have been truly understood. It also unveils whether promoting sustainability is on the agenda of other operators besides the head of sustainability or the sustainability team.

Moreover, sustainability reporting offers a cross-section of the current state of sustainability in the company’s business. It discovers positive development. It identifies deficiencies and potential problems or issues. It clarifies the steps taken towards the sustainability goals.

Credible sustainability reporting is impossible if the company’s sustainability is not measured and the essential indicators depicting the development of sustainability in the business have not been defined. The reporting process clearly shows if the necessary data has not been collected or if the data acquisition is insufficient. Now is the time to ask your organisation: do we have access to relevant, reliable sustainability data?

Learn more about reasons why we should invest in sustainability measurement.

 

Utilise the revelations

People no longer question the significance of sustainability reporting to external stakeholders and the business. Moreover, the reporting process reveals internally relevant development needs. The executive team of your company should understand the importance of sustainability reporting and incorporate the content of the report into management level decision-making. If this is not the case, request a meeting with them as soon as possible.

 

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If the sustainability reporting has revealed deficiencies in data collection and you do not have access to the necessary sustainability data, contact us! Tofuture offers a cloud-based tool so that your company can compile comprehensive sustainability reports based on reliable data.