Sustainability Reporting: why and how?

By Wright Communications

A growing number of organisations have policies in place to be socially and environmentally responsible, and to ensure the long-term economic viability. But few organisations report their warts and all corporate responsibility (CR) performance.

Public reporting requires a commitment from an organisation's leadership. To be done correctly, reporting needs measurement and data collecting systems to be in place, resources to monitor the results, and resources to compile and publish a report (either in print or on-line).

Sustainability reporting is on the rise globally, and becoming mandatory in some industries, but there are still naysayers who question its value.

The KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2011 stated that "companies are increasingly realising that CR reporting is about more than just being a good corporate citizen; it drives innovation and promotes learning, which helps companies grow their business and increase their organisation's value."

The survey noted 95 per cent of the 250 largest companies in the world (G250 companies) now report on their corporate responsibility (CR) activities. Interestingly, two-thirds of non-reporters are based in the US.
It also said: "Traditional CR reporting nations in Europe continue to see the highest reporting rates, but the Americas and the Middle East and Africa region are quickly gaining ground. Only around half of Asia Pacific companies report on their CR activities."

Though some companies devise and maintain specific methods of reporting, very few have strategic and long term sustainability goals, primarily due to lack of direction or expert advice.

Wright Communications is a specialist in CR - helping its clients plan, develop and write sustainability reports using the gold standard international framework Global Reporting Initiative G3.1 Guidelines.
Our years of experience in producing clients' sustainability reports to global best practise standards means we can also challenge them to increase their corporate responsibility, and this has been a huge benefit to clients which have committed to  producing reports.

Sustainability reporting's importance as a management tool for businesses cannot be underestimated. The reporting process assists companies to analyse their business, note areas in which they perform poorly, and act accordingly.

There are also a number of investors, including managed funds, which analyse the CR performance of potential targets for their capital, and public CR reporting is a great way to attract them.

But above all, CR reporting shows all stakeholder, including customers, suppliers, and potential business partners, that an organisation is willing to report on its social, economic and environmental impacts. That is incredibly valuable.

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