At many companies, the (sometimes painful) process of sustainability reporting is about to begin if it hasn’t already. To make this process as smooth as possible, it is wise to get your ‘house’ in order; to identify your wants and needs for this reporting year and decide on the key messages you want to convey to your key stakeholders.
So we thought it was a good time to offer a checklist of critical questions that have helped our clients get organized, and to help you have all your ducks in a row for this next reporting season.
- Is your management prepared to include challenges as well as successes?
- Have you developed sustainability objectives and targets?
- Is your management prepared to report on progress of achieving these targets?
- Who is the audience(s) for the report?
- How will you consult with key stakeholders (such as investors, governments, key community groups, relevant NGOs, board members, shareholders, etc.) to understand what their expectations are of your report?
- Have representatives from the different functions and sites been identified as responsible for collecting and contributing relevant data?
- Who will be responsible for preparing the text and illustrations and issuing of the report, will it be done in-house or externally?
- Will the report be available electronically (pdf) and/or in print form?
- Will the report be available on the internet in an interactive format?
- Have the internal and external reviewers of the report been identified?
- Are you intending to use the Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 Framework, or another such as SASB?
- Will you have the report externally audited?
- Do you have an approved budget?
- How will the preparation of the report be coordinated with the preparation of the corporate annual report which has a required completion date?
- Or, will your company be producing an integrated report?
- Have you provided enough time for internal and external review s, report layout and printing and/or posting to the internet?
Have you determined the relevant indicators to be included in the report? The indicators in the report should be selected for importance to:
- The specific operation
- External stakeholders
- Internal stakeholders
Do all your operations, be they headquarters or various sites have a compatible set of indicators?
- Do they use the same units?
- Different operations may have different subsets of indicators that are relevant to their specific function in the organization.
Can these indicators be readily transmitted to headquarters without adding work to different operations?
- Will you be using a shared spreadsheet or a cloud-based database?