Sustainability Reporting: Understanding the Guiding Principles

We have had the Kyoto Protocol, the Basel Convention, and many more, but what is true is that the state of the environment appears to deteriorate. In their 2020 Annual Climate Report, NOAA indicated that the average temperatures for the planet have increased by 0.08 degrees Celsius per decade since 1880. In other areas of the environment, from water pollution to clean water access, the rate of deterioration is worrying, but the good news is that we have the opportunity to address the issues through sustainability reporting

In this post, we take a closer look at environmental reporting to determine what it is and also help you understand the underlying principles.

What is Sustainability Reporting? 

When international organizations, such as UNEP and CITES, call for concerted efforts to address sustainability issues, concerns are always raised about the commitment and transparency of the adopted efforts. It is true that efforts on sustainability require some efforts and costs, but the benefits to your organization and planet are a lot more. Sustainability reporting is the disclosure of a business’s environmental, governance, and social goals, including the efforts adopted to achieve them

The reporting represents the mechanism to create data, evaluate progress, and helping to promote the planet’s global sustainable development agenda. It is very crucial in helping companies to gauge how they are faring in all areas of sustainable development and supporting shift to a green economy.  

The Main ESG Sustainability Reporting Principles  

The guiding principles are used to influence the traits of sustainability reporting to help your business achieve specific outcomes.

  • Transparency and Accountability  

The primary aim of sustainability reporting is to ensure that corporates are able to craft the right sustainability targets and achieve them. Being transparent implies that you can correctly identify the areas affected by your business and correctly craft methods of addressing them. For example, a company that releases a lot of emissions might want to start by quantifying the emission rates and defining the reduction targets. 

  • Balanced and Neutrality 

As we have already mentioned, corporates need to be honest in their efforts to make positive impacts on the planet. To ensure that the report on sustainability is not biased, it is prudent that both positive and negative implications are captured well. For example, did the shift to a computerized system from manual operations involve additional costs for buying new equipment and training staff? 

  • Reliability 

When you tell your customers, shareholders, and the world that you increased the company’s efficiency, can the information be verifiable? ESG sustainability reporting calls for high reliability, which implies that every detail is backed by evidence and it is possible to check. If you installed new machinery that has reduced the power you use by 50%, can the energy bills show that? What about comparing them with the previous rates? 

There are the main principles of ESG reporting, and they are meant to ensure the focus on addressing environmental issues becomes part of your organization. One way of making sustainability reporting more effective is to use appropriate sustainability management software. It allows you to create the right objectives and follow your sustainability plan easily.