Mike Wallace, Director of the Focal Point USA office for GRI, wrote an article on Greenbiz.com last week about how to deal with the recent onslaught of sustainability surveys. By survey, he means requests from a variety of different sources inquiring about sustainability performance data. So how does an organization sift through all the paper? Here are Mike’s six steps:
Reality Check – mainstream investors are using sustainability information to make investment decisions
Get Your Story Straight – in the spirit of transparency, every department in an organization needs to be singing from the same sheet of music re: sustainability performance
Who’s Asking – know the key players in the ratings and rankings arena and understand their processes and how they serve respective markets
Bloomberg on the Block – sustainability performance data for nearly 5,000 global public companies exists in terminals on 300,000 desks around the world
Keeping it Real – organizations need to understand how they’re being compared to their peers; GRI is the most widely used reporting framework to standardize this comparison
Taking Your First Step – review the list of GRI reporters and determine where your company stands next to its peers before embarking on your first report
Do you think these are good tips for understanding the sustainability reporting arena and taking your first step towards reporting? Would you change or add any steps to the list? Discuss!
Statement from the most senior decision-maker of the organization about relevance of sustainability to the organization and the organization’s strategy for addressing sustainability
Name of the organization
Primary brands, products, and services
Location of organization’s headquarters
Number of countries where the organization operates, and names of countries with significant operations or that are specifically relevant to the sustainability topics covered in the report
Nature of ownership and legal form
Scale of the reporting organization
Total workforce by employment type, employment contract, and region, broken down by gender
Percentage of total employees covered by collective bargaining agreements
Description of the organization’s supply chain
Significant changes during the reporting period regarding organization's size, structure, ownership, or supply chain
Whether and how the precautionary approach or principle is addressed by the organization
Externally developed economic, environmental, and social charters, principles, or other initiatives to which the organization subscribes or endorses
Memberships in associations and/or national/international advocacy organizations
Entities included in the organization consolidated financial and nonfinancial reports
Process for defining report content
Material aspects identified in the process for defining report content
For each material aspect, the aspect boundary within the organization
For each material aspect, the aspect boundary outside the organization
Explanation of the effect of and reasons for any restatements of information provided in earlier reports
Significant changes from previous reporting periods in the scope and aspect boundaries
List of stakeholder groups engaged by the organization
The basis for identification and selection of stakeholders with whom to engage
The organization’s approach to stakeholder engagement, including frequency of engagement by type and by stakeholder group, and an indication of whether any of the engagement was undertaken specifically as part of the report preparation process
Key topics and concerns that have been raised through stakeholder engagement, and how the organization has responded to those key topics and concerns, including through its reporting. Report the stakeholder groups that raised each of the key topics and concerns
Date of most recent previous report
Contact point for questions regarding the report or its contents
‘In accordance’ option and GRI Content Index
Policy and current practice with regard to seeking external assurance for the report
Governance structure of organization, including committees of the highest governance body
The organization’s values, principles, standards, and norms of behavior such as codes of conduct and codes of ethics
Disclosure on Management Approach for Aspect
Coverage of the organization’s defined benefit plan obligations.
Financial assistance received from government.
Significant indirect economic impacts, including the extent of impacts.
Total number and rates of new employee hires and employee turnover by age group, gender and region.
Average hours of training per year per employee, by gender and by employee category.
Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews, by gender and by employee category.