Public authorities and non-profits are also big reporters. Become a GSB member to get more stories like this direct to your inbox. While these questions need to be wrestled with, it is also important at moments of great change to go back to the beginning of the journey and to remember the purpose of reporting and what difference it can truly make. The new purpose of reporting should be conversation.
Instead, it asks how companies can be less unsustainable — how they can staunch their haemorrhaging of social and natural capital.
It's high time for sustainability reporting to live up to its name, and actually measure progress toward achieving and ultimately surpassing sustainability. That would require measuring by real-world yardsticks — the planetary boundaries and social foundations needed for us to shift from unsustainability toward "thrivance". The purpose of sustainability reporting remains essentially unchanged. When undertaken with integrity, warts and all reporting can be a massive driver of improved performance.
It is the bedrock of any serious CSR management system or strategy. Nothing else quite motivates senior management to tackle an inconvenient ethical or environmental problem so much as the prospect of the world being 'in the know'. Sunlight really is a fantastic disinfectant. Unfortunately, Juvenal's observation still rings true in many cases: But doesn't the reporting of negatives make the positives all the more believable?
Doesn't the presence of criticism in a report's assurance statement make the compliments all the more real. Sustainability reporting is here to stay, but let's keep it real. In the late s, corporate sustainability reporting was virtually unknown. Yet, in little more than a decade, it has evolved from the extraordinary to the exceptional to the expected.
By the standard of major innovations in business practices, it ranks among the most remarkable in recent years. While corporate accountability and performance improvement initially drove to the reporting movement, years of practice have revealed a purpose is even deeper and more transformational. That purpose is the redefinition of corporate value and value creation. In a complex, perilous and uncertain world, reporting is playing a vital role in reframing the meaning of value.
The dominance of short-term shareholder value is under more scrutiny than at any time in last three decades. Slowly but steadily, a new definition of value is emerging, one rooted in multiple capitals that encompass human, social, natural alongside financial.
In the future, the valuation of a company can and must accord parity to all forms of capital. The planet's well-being and business prosperity alike are at stake. Sustainability reporting stands to play a leading role in this seminal transformation.
The good news is that business is operating in a more complex environment. Austerity programmes and investor and consumer caution are taking their toll. The bad news is that ecosystem and related changes eg climate variability will make life even harder in the future. If governments and business are to navigate successfully through the sustainability challenges that lie ahead, greater innovation, resilience and adaptability will be needed. Here, two things are essential.
Everyone must have a better understanding of the dimensions of the problems we face and be engaged in responding to them. Widely practiced, comparable and trusted sustainability reporting on material issues are central to this. Reduce the burden on business, but not by throwing sustainability babies out with the 'it's not working' narrative bathwater. Do it by reducing taxes on labour, setting and abiding by clear goals, and by helping sustainability reporting become the powerful change agent it can be.
Not because I believe reporting is unimportant — indeed the opposite is true. But my decisions were driven by an uncomfortable sense that we have made almost too much progress down a particular, company-led reporting trajectory, whereas what we now need, urgently, is a more systemic approach.
When we founded Environmental Data Services ENDS back in , companies didn't report and weren't minded to do so— so, yes, today's world feels like real progress.
But the only way all of this will work in terms of building resilient, equitable economies is if integrated reporting is not simply operated at the company level again — but, instead, is both retrospective and prospective, and integrated across supply chains, stock exchanges and economies, with meaningful links to societal and biosphere health.
For both business and society it more important than ever to manage both positive and negative impacts of business activities. For businesses, sustainability reporting means knowing your non-financial risks and opportunities and showing what you do to manage them. The purpose of reporting, is to create greater transparency and accountability and to allow for better informed and more robust decision-making in a context where financial and non-financial challenges are becoming still more interdependent.
This is why Denmark in introduced a mandatory but flexible comply-or-explain type of approach to reporting covering the largest companies. The good news is that businesses themselves have responded positively. However, to succeed we need to work globally.
Many companies report simply because companies report. The new purpose of reporting should be conversation. Reporting must give data for debate and provide evidence for engagement. As social media fundamentally resets relationships between institutions and people, the conversation has become the predominate communication in the world.
Major providers of sustainability reporting guidance include: To learn more about how sustainability reporting is developing worldwide, visit the Report or Explain and Report Services pages.
It is also an intrinsic element of integrated reporting ; a more recent development that combines the analysis of financial and non-financial performance. The value of the sustainability reporting process is that it ensures organizations consider their impacts on these sustainability issues, and enables them to be transparent about the risks and opportunities they face.
With this user-friendly tool, you will be able to proactively identify opportunities. About Sustainability Reporting Sustainability reporting enables organizations to consider their impacts of wide range of sustainability issues, enabling them to be more transparent about the risks and opportunities they face. sustainability reporting Sustainability Reporting Every year, UPS releases a new corporate sustainability report – the most comprehensive source of information .