Resources for Reporting
Environmental Defense Fund
By establishing mechanisms and resources, your sustainability reporting can enhance transparency and accountability, build trust and credibility with stakeholders, and support your organization’s sustainability goals.
Establishing sustainability reporting mechanisms is crucial for organizations tracking their environmental impact. Investing in key processes and resources will help ensure that your sustainability reporting is accurate, reliable, and aligned with your organization’s broader sustainability goals.
Governance mechanisms define the people and processes responsible for reporting on your company’s sustainability progress. Establishing an effective governance model is critical, because it will allow you to collect information and report on your sustainability journey. This includes defining clear roles and responsibilities as they relate to your sustainability reporting goals and creating a clear internal structure for approvals and decision making.
Data Collection and Management
You should identify key ESG indicators and KPIs (key performance indicators) that are relevant and significant to your business. Relevant and significant data is often referred to as material information, and materiality should be a key deciding factor as you determine your ESG indicators. You should also make sure your ESG indicators align with your sustainability reporting needs. Depending on whether your company has aligned itself to one or more specific reporting frameworks, you may have to verify that you are able to collect the necessary information to report against those standards. Once you’ve identified your data requirements, you’ll need to confirm your processes to make sure you are collecting the right data. You may need to collect data from multiple sources, such as energy bills, supplier reports, and employee surveys. It is also important to verify data quality and accuracy through quality control processes.
Investing in technology can help streamline data collection and the sustainability reporting process. Sustainability reporting software is designed to manage and automate data collection, analysis, and reporting. This software can help you track progress towards your company’s goals, generate reports, and identify areas where you can improve your ESG performance. There are several types of sustainability reporting software available, ranging from basic data management tools to comprehensive reporting platforms. Some software can even integrate with other business systems, such as financial reporting software or supply chain management tools.1
Reporting Standards and Design
Most organizations report sustainability progress annually, through a public-facing report that includes information on your targets and progress to date. These reports are also a good opportunity to highlight specific projects or achievements that you want to communicate to your value chain. You should also consider including ESG disclosures in your company’s financial reports to improve transparency for investors. In many jurisdictions, this is not just a best practice but quickly becoming a legal requirement. If your organization reports to a platform like CDP or the UN Global Compact, you will need to disclose based on their requirements annually.
It’s important to that your sustainability reporting is accessible and understandable for your audience. This involves using standard emissions measurement and reporting practices, using clear and concise language, and providing context for performance data.
External resources can provide guidance and support to ensure that your reporting meets industry standards and best practices. Sustainability reporting standards and frameworks, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) provide guidelines on ESG reporting and help ensure consistency and comparability across organizations. These frameworks can help you identify which ESG indicators to report on, how to measure them, and how to disclose the information.
Working with sustainability consultants and auditors can also be beneficial. These professionals can provide guidance on ESG reporting and help develop your reports. They can also help you identify areas for improvement.2