Sustainability Stuck in a Reporting Trap
Companies due to increased demand of transparency from stakeholders engage in sustainability reporting to exhibit their commitment in terms of Environment, Social and Economic parameters. Sustainability guidelines or accounting standards such as the GRI or the SASB respectively enable organisations identify material issues, improve performance, proactively address challenges and report against these.
Beyond apparently reporting against material issues, companies find themselves boxed into a check list mode when it comes to deploying sustainability. Instead of deriving significant value that can be unlocked in making sustainability a strategy by organisations, sustainability has increasingly become a project and a report its outcome. This cycle perpetuates itself annually or bi-annually as the case may be with data collection and report writing being the key tasks for sustainability reporters.
As a result addressing the material issues that have been identified as influencing both the company’s performance and substantially influencing the assessments and decisions of its stakeholder’s takes a back seat, and the potential is left unrealized.
In order to escape the reporting trap, it is hence essential to integrate these material issues into a sustainability strategy, for example cementing the sustainability policy as an integral part of long term goals.
Identify areas of improvement that goes beyond business as usual and spurs innovative, out-of-the box solutions, set achievable and measurable targets, engage stakeholders in the process, and capture sustainability’s full potential.
The blog article is written by Ms. Betsy Vincent, Vice President – Sustainability Services, RSM – GC Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd to develop the knowledge base of readers and practicing sustainability managers and professionals on sustainability reporting and reflects the views of the article “Steering Clear of the Sustainability Reporting Trap” by Jan van der Kaaij, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Between-Us