Sustainability reports are not new. Companies perceived by the public as having the greatest impact on our environment and society have been producing these reports for years – and usually they show an incremental improvement in their environmental impact over the years – as you’d expect.
The purpose and quality of these reports also varies dramatically. Some companies have a deep commitment and understanding of both the positive and negative impact it can have on the environment, however most unfortunately do not. Good sustainability reporting will always address the core competencies of the business – be that use of water, land, or chemicals.
Sustainability reports are not a legal requirement, but this doesn’t mean they avoid scrutiny. So if, as a client, your sustainability report is factually incorrect then not only will this have an impact on your corporate CSR reputation, but it may well lead to questions about other areas of the business operations. A report from Leeds University in the UK highlights some absolute disasters when it comes communicating sustainability – read it here.
For our clients – communicating sustainability in the right way to the right people not only builds a company’s resilience against the impact of inevitable external changes, but also gives them the authority to take the upper hand in leading a debate on the issue. We use the word ‘transparent’ a lot in communications, but taking an honest approach is more likely to position a company as a leader in its field and sometimes it means companies need to admit to ‘doing better’.