The sustainability practices of businesses are increasingly under the microscope. Cue the growing need for companies large and small to have a tool that communicates clearly to all stakeholders the firm’s sustainability strategies, practices and targets. The vehicle for this is your sustainability report.
Sustainability in this context goes beyond your environmental practices. Your sustainability report also discusses your governance, financial stability, community social responsibility (CSR), and people practices (human resource sustainability). All these aspects combined form the core of your longer-term sustainability as an organisation.
Why have a sustainability report?
Your sustainability practices are of keen interest to your stakeholder groups. Both business-to-business (B2B) clients and business-to-consumer (B2C) customers are increasingly scrutinising the environmental and CSR practices of the businesses they associate with. The choice to switch brands is now wider and easier than ever.
If your business is more B2B-focused, your clients will increasingly want you to demonstrate your defined sustainability practices. It reflects well on their own brand and provides them a cost savings opportunity in the longer-term. In our capacity of helping clients write and design their bid proposals, we are seeing an increasing requirement to detail sustainability practices as part of the submission.
If you are a B2C company, you have the opportunity to gain your consumers’ trust and lock them in as a life-long customer through your strong ethics as a business. The Body Shop is a key example. It started its life as a sustainable brand in the product ingredients it uses and ‘fair trade’ supplier policies, Through this, it continues to attract huge brand loyalty.
Your sustainability policies, employee involvement in worthwhile community causes and your transparent reporting practices, will all likely be major staff motivating factors.
For potential investors, you will be a more attractive prospect from a reputational and therefore commercial perspective.
You will be able to source higher-quality suppliers if they know you benchmark yourself against best practices and have financial sustainability. In terms of your wider stakeholders, demonstrating your expectations of suppliers sends a powerful message about your own sustainability commitment.
Where to start
Put the building blocks in place by reviewing where you are and where you want to be.
Goals should be defined, specific and measurable – the percentage of energy saved through using more sustainable lighting for example.
Your sustainability report should also specify the people within the company assigned as sustainability ‘champions’ in their respective areas, and that will monitor/measure progress at defined periods.
Where the company is now, where it wants to be, the aspects it wants to measure and how it will measure them are all part of your ‘materiality assessment’. A great place to start is the Global Reporting Initiative – the main global reference to sustainability reporting and guide to setting sustainability goals.
Materiality assessments are carried out by specialist consultants. Should you want to take this route, we can point you in the direction of someone you can talk to.
Talk to us
To find out more about how MA Technical Copywriting can help you write, edit and/or design your sustainability report, contact us on +44 (0) 1242 230404 or firstname.lastname@example.org.