For these tasked with speaking their group’s sustainability info, these are difficult occasions. What to speak and to whom, and which instruments to make use of, at all times have been ache factors. Add to that the current will increase within the varieties and quantity of knowledge; the variety of reporting frameworks, requirements and suggestions to deal with it; and the curiosity from disparate stakeholder audiences with totally different wants — all with out a important enhance in folks devoted to reporting.
Boards, prime administration, investor relations and human useful resource leaders, together with these in sustainability, EH&S and advertising and communications, have grow to be extra concerned consequently. This has added but extra challenges, resembling settlement on method throughout the departments concerned; and motivating and gathering information from many material consultants throughout a company.
Right here, we briefly evaluate three of probably the most globally well-known frameworks (see graphic) and summarize what you’ll want to know to know the distinction and the advantages of utilizing every:
GRI: The World Reporting Initiative places out the GRI Requirements, which offer steerage throughout environmental, social and financial components for all stakeholders, together with traders, whereas the opposite main frameworks are primarily investor-focused. A number of thousand organizations worldwide use the GRI framework — which is among the many most well-known and the usual for the United Nations World Compact — to subject sustainability studies. For studies led by these outdoors investor relations, GRI is probably going the most secure guess — it covers probably the most classes of sustainability exercise, together with room to inform tales behind the info that’s extra prone to fulfill stakeholders resembling clients, staff and NGOs.IIRC: The Worldwide Built-in Reporting Council, which places out the Built-in Reporting Framework (IRF), urges corporations to subject “concise” built-in studies (combining conventional, annual monetary with ESG information) that element “… the creation of worth within the quick, medium and long run.” Worldwide/world traders, lenders and insurers are the first viewers for these studies. Built-in reporters have been discovered to be extra prone to deal with sustainability info as materials to funding selections, making it simpler for traders to overview such info as a part of regular analysis processes.SASB: The Sustainability Accounting Requirements Board points requirements which are extra inward-looking, targeted extra on how sustainability points have an effect on the corporate and its monetary efficiency. SASB’s most distinctive contribution are the 70-plus trade classes for which it has developed requirements. This, together with SASB materiality maps, could also be significantly useful for newer reporters in figuring out what’s materials for reporting, and for extra standardized benchmarking. Jennifer Pontzer, managing director and COO at ISOS Group, signifies that extra reporters are together with SASB metrics inside their sustainability studies and discovering worth in its materiality maps.
Different frameworks and questionnaires of observe embrace the CDP, Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), and the U.N. Sustainable Growth Objectives (SDGs). Not like GRI, SASB and IIRC, CDP doesn’t collect information or present steerage on social or sure forms of environmental components. Additionally totally different is that CDP offers a questionnaire, as does the DJSI, to collect the info it does gather for its investor audiences. The SDGs are a set of world targets for sustainable growth and are very influential — and lots of corporations are mapping their efforts to particular SDGs of their reporting.
Key audiences for sustainability info embrace clients, traders, NGOs, governments and staff. Nevertheless, not all of those stakeholders get their sustainability info straight from firm studies. Shoppers and different “non-professional” audiences proceed to rely totally on what they discover in digestible bits in on-line search efforts, social and conventional media, the company web site and advertising communications.
And not using a concerted effort, a report that’s dozens of pages gained’t attraction to an off-the-cuff reader, though with planning and use of a number of ranges of knowledge, items can gas focused content material bites for a number of platforms and channels, whereas the report itself turns into scannable.
And not using a concerted effort, a report that’s dozens of pages gained’t attraction to an off-the-cuff reader.
Extra just lately, traders, particularly institutional traders with longer-term time horizons, more and more have turned to environmental, social and governance (ESG) information sources, resembling MSCI and Sustainalytics. These companies digest firm studies, but additionally gather and analyze many different public information sources to supply particular summaries and information units for what traders want of their decision-making. Firms sharing information and evaluation themselves are serving to body that dialogue.
So many frameworks, what to do?
Within the pursuits of serving to organizations kind via all of it and maximize reporting effectiveness, the Company Reporting Dialogue (CRD) seeks to “determine [how] respective frameworks, requirements and associated necessities might be defined and aligned … via its Higher Alignment Undertaking” (BAP). The CRD just lately reported its preliminary BAP findings. The report is in keeping with what we describe above and features a useful set of FAQs that present how the frameworks and requirements can be utilized individually and collectively. Steerage from these FAQs present:
how the principle present frameworks and requirements are considerably aligned and complement one another;why GRI Requirements are probably the most related for growing a separate sustainability report serving the wants of a number of stakeholders; andwhy SASB is one in all two sustainability frameworks and requirements designed particularly for communication of financially materials points to traders.
In the meantime, the Monetary Stability Board’s Job Pressure on Local weather-related Monetary Disclosures (TCFD) launched its annual replace in June. The TCFD is a extensively supported effort, though early indications are that corporations want steerage in integrating its suggestions.
That’s the place the requirements and frameworks play a right away position. CRD’s members have mapped their frameworks in opposition to the TCFD suggestions and are figuring out alternatives for alignment of metrics the place doable throughout all their reporting frameworks. They’ve discovered that they haven’t any battle with TCFD’s seven rules for efficient disclosure; and that they’re nicely aligned with the TCFD’s 11 beneficial disclosures.
Look ahead to TCFD’s situation analyses suggestions to play a task in sustainability reporting past local weather impacts, given their means to make sustainability impacts and their dangers, prices and alternatives extra tangible. These analyses shall be helpful for all stakeholders in speaking and prioritizing frequent targets.
The State of Built-in and Sustainability Reporting 2018 (Sustainable Investments Institute) revealed that almost all (97 %) of S&P 500 reporting corporations selected to “customise extant sustainability reporting fashions — in type, format and content material — as a substitute of carefully following anybody framework.” So, many reporters are discovering their targets greatest met by taking what works for them from the totally different frameworks — one thing the frameworks themselves, via the CRD, counsel is an efficient method.