10 Tips For Sustainable Reporting In 2023

Sustainability reporting is a field that is constantly evolving in the face of  changing environmental, economic, and social conditions. As we move into the future, it is essential for organizations to stay up-to-date with the latest sustainability reporting trends and tips.   In this Sandpaper guide, we’ll outline a few key tips for sustainable reporting in the present year that will help you build a strong, effective sustainability strategy.

Tips We’ll Cover

  1. Emphasize Materiality
  2. Use Relevant Metrics
  3. Focus on Context
  4. Engage Stakeholders
  5. Be Transparent
  6. Consider Non-Financial Risks
  7. Use Technology
  8. Align with Standards
  9. Track Performance Over Time
  10. Continuously Improve
  Now, let’s cover these tips in more depth.

1. Emphasize Materiality

Materiality is a concept that emphasizes the importance of selecting sustainability topics and goals that are most relevant to an organization. It is essential for companies to prioritize the most important issues for their stakeholders and address those in a meaningful way.     Companies should take a range of factors into account when assessing materiality, including:  
  • industry
  • size
  • geographic scope
  • complexity of operations
  • customer base
  This will help companies report on the topics that are most relevant to them and their stakeholders.

2. Use Relevant Metrics

Metrics are not one-size-fits-all—they’re industry and organization specific. Sustainability reporting should include metrics that are relevant to the organization, rather than a generic set of metrics. Organizations should focus on metrics that track their progress against important goals, rather than simply providing data for the sake of it. Metrics should be regularly monitored so that companies can adjust their strategies in response to changing conditions.   There are too many sustainability metrics to list here in-full, but some key metrics organizations might use include:  
  • energy and water efficiency and usage
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • waste and recycling outputs
  • diversity and inclusion
  • working conditions
  • shareholder rights
  If you’re looking for more guidance about choosing metrics, check out our guide on key ESG metrics to track.

3. Focus on Context

Context is key when it comes to effective sustainability reporting.  Companies should provide information about their operations that allow stakeholders to understand the decisions they are making.   For example, companies should provide background on any goals they set, explain why these goals were picked, and discuss how progress is being tracked. This will help stakeholders better understand a company’s sustainability strategy and its implications for the future.   Furthermore, companies should also provide context for their performance, such as external factors that may have an impact on results.

4. Engage Stakeholders

Your stakeholders are the underlying force that drives your company’s success. Engaging with stakeholders is essential to effective sustainability reporting, as it allows companies to understand their needs and priorities.   Companies should use a variety of methods to engage stakeholders, such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups. This will help organizations gain insights into the critical issues for their stakeholders and ensure that their reporting is focused on the right topics.

5. Be Transparent

Transparency is a key concern among consumers, investors, and employees—three key stakeholder groups. Companies should provide clear, concise information in their sustainability reports that can be easily understood.   Furthermore, companies should not only disclose the data they are legally required to report, but also provide additional information that is pertinent to their stakeholders. This will help demonstrate a commitment to transparency.

6. Consider Non-Financial Risks

Organizations should not only focus on financial risks, but also consider non-financial risks, such as:  
  • reputational damage
  • supply chain disruption
  • regulatory changes
  • cyberattacks
  • data breaches
  Companies should use their sustainability reports to provide information about these risks and how they are being managed.   Companies should consider any potential risks associated with their operations and strive to mitigate them, while also making sure that stakeholders are kept informed of any actions taken to address those risks.

7. Use Technology

Technology can be a powerful tool for sustainability reporting. Companies should consider leveraging technology to simplify the process of collecting and analyzing data, as well as automating the publication process. This will help organizations produce more accurate and timely reports. There are plenty of tools on the market, such as:  
  • Environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting platforms
  • Cloud-based data analytics tools
  • Software to automatically publish reports
  Technology can help companies improve the accuracy and efficiency of their sustainability reporting, while also freeing up resources for more strategic projects.

8. Align with Standards

The abundance of international standards available today makes it easier for organizations to align their sustainability reporting with a common framework. Companies should select one or more standards that best fit their organization and use them as the basis for their reports.   Using an established standard will also help companies ensure that their reports meet the expectations of stakeholders, investors, and regulators. And by using such a well-recognized framework, organizations can also improve their transparency and credibility.   If you’re curious about the different sustainability standards available, you can find a comprehensive list of ESG frameworks here.

9. Track Performance Over Time

Tracking progress over time is the only way to assess how effective a company’s sustainability efforts are. Companies should strive to track their performance year-over-year and make adjustments as needed.   Organizations should also provide insights into how their sustainability performance is impacting the environment, society, and economy. This will help stakeholders better understand a company’s long-term impact and how it is responding to changing conditions.

10. Continuously Improve

The goal of sustainability reporting is to remain static—it’s about continuous improvement. Companies should regularly review their reports and make adjustments as needed to ensure that their sustainability efforts are having a positive impact.   Organizations should also take the time to review their metrics and restructure them as necessary to ensure that they’re still relevant to their goals. This will help ensure that reports remain up-to-date and can provide accurate insights into a company’s sustainability performance.

Let Sandpaper Streamline Your Sustainability Reporting Process

By following these tips, you can create an effective sustainability report that meets the expectations of stakeholders, investors and regulators. However, if you need additional help designing, drafting, and publishing a report, let Sandpaper help.   We specialize in sustainability reporting and can help you create a comprehensive report that meets international standards. With our help, you can streamline the process and ensure that your reports are accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date.   Contact us today to learn more about our sustainability reporting services!