Shareholders, members of the public, investors and NGOs increasingly seek more transparency and information about organisations’ sustainability performance. This is a significant breakthrough that has occurred in the recent years.
Disclosure can pose a real challenge for organisations, and they need to respond to these requests for transparency efficiently and effectively.
Ideally, reporting for any given organisation, including it reporting on sustainability, should be integrated into a single integrated report that communicates every aspect of a company’s performance. This provides all the information about an organisation in one easy to use and access document.
This highlights the different types of reporting that are out there, making matters slightly more complicated from a company’s perspective.
There’s the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Integrated Reporting (IR) and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board to mention a few of the options that are available.
My preferred option is Integrated Reporting (IR) as it is a process that is based on integrated thinking that results in an integrated report that is produced by an organisation periodically and communicates on value creation over time.
The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) defines an integrated report as “a concise communication about how an organisation’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects, in the context of its external environment, lead to the creation of value in the short, medium and long term.” Making a compelling argument towards this method of sustainability reporting.
In any case, effective sustainability reporting can be a powerful communication tool that enables effective communication with stakeholders about how organisations are performing against their set objectives. Companies that embrace this are likely to have an advantage over their competitors and boost value for shareholders.
However, it can be challenging when an organisation starts its sustainability journey as it includes regular sustainability data gathering in a reliable and consistent manner.
Sandra Anani is passionate about sustainability, with over 19 years’ experience. She has dedicated her career to sustainable development and communications.