Make Your Organisation Stand Out with Integrated Sustainability Reporting


Our planet is facing a crisis.

Global warming, ocean acidification, and a loss of biodiversity are all terrifying results of a human overproduction of greenhouse gases. These effects (and many more) are known as climate change.

And as the climate is changing, so are the expectations of stakeholders…

Investors are considering environmental and social concerns when making decisions. Consumers want to know that the products they are buying are made under ethical working conditions as well as considering the planet.

So, all eyes are on organisations when it comes to saving the planet, but where to start?

It’s easy to pass the blame when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, but part of stepping up as an organisation includes taking accountability for your own emissions and the impact they are having on the planet.

Sustainability reporting helps increase transparency around the impact of your organisation on important social and environmental issues like climate change.

Here, we’ll explain what integrated sustainability reporting actually is, as well as outlining the benefits of reporting for your organisation

GRI - Global Reporting Initiative

The Global Reporting Initiative, or GRI is an international organisation that has developed a set of standards for sustainability reporting that are the most widely, globally adopted.

These are called the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards and represent “global best practice for reporting on economic, environmental and social issues”.

The GRI standards are based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and provide a framework for taking a holistic approach to sustainability. This involves considering both social and environmental impacts, for example, carbon emissions.

The GRI works with organisations to help them communicate their impacts, which is achieved through voluntary sustainability reporting.

The Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals that take a wide approach to global sustainability. They cover a variety of issues, from poverty to climate action, and call upon more than 150 world leaders to act upon these issues.

Because of the broad range of issues covered, the SDGs provide an excellent guide towards global sustainability for countries, organisations, and individuals alike.

The GRI standards are very similar to these goals, taking a diverse approach to sustainability.

The Benefits for Your Organisation

Business Revenue

With climate change gaining more and more media coverage, it’s no surprise that people are taking note.

Studies are showing that consumers are not only willing to pay more for sustainable options (1), but they are also often actively avoiding their ‘unsustainable’ alternatives.

The transparency that public reporting requires is a great way to demonstrate your organisational values to consumers, allowing you to develop your reputation as a sustainable and ethical organisation.

Adopting a reporting framework, like the GRI standards, can provide a guide to sustainability issues that are important to both consumers and the planet. These are a great start towards reporting upon your impact, appealing to conscious consumers and increasing revenue.

Employee Attraction/Retention

Voluntary, public sustainability reporting is a great way to strengthen your organisation’s Human Resources strategy.

Making your sustainability efforts public shows potential employees your organisation values transparency and has sustainability in mind. Individuals are more willing to work for an organisation that has a good reputation and evidence is coming to light that indicates that a sustainable reputation may be just as relevant.

In fact, studies have shown there is a link between corporate social responsibility and both the attraction and retention of employees(2).

So, not only will sustainability reporting help attract candidates, there’s research to show that it can help with employee retention too.

Reduce Future Regulatory Risks

You will have likely heard of the recent Zero Carbon Bill introduced by the New Zealand government, a piece of legislation that aims to reduce the country’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

This will require a massive nation-wide shift to a low emissions economy if we are to reach the targets laid out in the legislation. While the legislation does not yet outline the specific requirements for organisations, they will probably be similar to those United Kingdom’s Change Act (the act that the NZ bill is based on).

So what does that mean for organisations in New Zealand?

Requirements will likely evolve to include mandatory reporting for public sector organisations and publicly traded companies. Because of this, it is a good time to get ahead of the curve and start voluntarily reporting on your organisations emissions.

By reporting on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, your organisation can be prepared for regulatory risks. As well as this, reporting can help you get a handle on your organisation’s carbon footprint and what your future obligations could look like.

Decrease Utility Expenses & Carbon Emissions

Often, reducing carbon emissions and decreasing utility expenses go hand in hand.

Project reporting can help demonstrate the impact and ongoing savings of current initiatives and inform future decisions.

However, as valuable as these insights may be, it can be time-consuming to comb through your operations and invoices, searching for inefficiencies and monitoring change. This is where an automated software solution comes in.

e-Calc® is an environmental management and sustainability reporting software that allows you to monitor and compare the paybacks from different projects.

Savings or avoided costs can be reported in dollars, GHG emissions and kilowatt hours, so you can see exactly how your utility expenses and emissions are affected and work to decrease them.

Reporting with e-Bench®

e-Bench® has all the tools you need to get started on reporting your organisation’s overall impact, as well as providing insights to help you reduce emissions over time.

Reporting upon your organisation’s impact requires the collection of accurate and relevant data. e-Bench® presents this information in easy-to-interpret reports that can be tailored to your organisation’s needs.

From there, what is measured can be managed.

Make informed decisions based on the data. Then, once you’ve made positive decisions as a result of these insights, you can publicly report on them to differentiate your organisation as environmentally conscious and sustainable.

To learn more about reporting your impact, book a time to chat with us at Carbon EMS.

Sources:

1. Accenture. (2019, June 4). More than Half of Consumers Would Pay More for Sustainable Products Designed to Be Reused or Recycled, Accenture Survey Finds. Retrieved September 25, 2020, from https://newsroom.accenture.com/news/more-than-half-of-consumers-would-pay-more-for-sustainable-products-designed-to-be-reused-or-recycled-accenture-survey-finds.htm

2. Jepsen, D. M., & Grob, S. (2015). Sustainability in Recruitment and Selection: Building a Framework of Practices. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 9(2), 160-178. doi:10.1177/0973408215588250

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