The COVID-19 pandemic has caused untold disruption to the everyday lives of billions of people.

For business, it has pushed forward the requirement for remote working, video meetings, furlough and for those with children, homeschooling. To say nothing of the financial pressures most businesses are facing due to issues such as staff absences, closure of stores or offices and the impact on future revenue. This is an unexpected occurrence and will inevitably lead to uncertainty amongst stakeholders, in particular investors and employees. Here is where you need to address these uncertainties and showcase your viability and plan for future success, to regain confidence.

The perfect opportunity to regain confidence is to outline your areas for future-proofing, underpinned by sustainability. The misconception with the term is that it is mainly focused on the environment. However, here, your sustainability reporting should be focused on how you plan to implement changes and decisions now, to help you in the short, medium or long term to support your business into the future.

There are a number of ways that you can communicate sustainability for your company. But here we focus on the different frameworks available to get you started in writing your plan. There are generally three types of frameworks:

  • Scoring-comparisons framework — allowing you to rate the quality of your practices
  • Disclosures-focused framework — providing you with a list of disclosures that you should seek to include in your reporting
  • Principles-based framework — outlining a high-level perspective and approach to sustainability reporting

Scoring-Comparisons Frameworks

  • CDP — which was formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project — helps you to measure and manage environmental risk, and provides your decision-makers with the data and insight to make even better decisions, manage risk and capitalise on opportunities. 
  • DJSIDow Jones Sustainability Index — serves as a benchmark for investors who integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios, and provides an effective engagement platform for investors wishing to encourage companies to improve their corporate sustainability practices. 
  • GRESB — which was formerly the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark — allows you to enhance and protect shareholder value by assessing and empowering sustainability practices in the real asset sector.
  • FTSE4Good is a market-leading tool for investors seeking to invest in companies that demonstrate good sustainability practices.

Disclosures-focused framework

  • GRI Standards — Global Reporting Initiative — helps businesses to understand and communicate their impact on critical sustainability issues. Enabling real action to create social, environmental and economic benefits for all.  
  • CDSB— Climate Disclosure Standards Board — is committed to advancing and aligning the global mainstream corporate reporting model to equate natural capital with financial capital.

Principles-based framework

  • UN SDGs — United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals — allow companies to focus on the overarching theme of supporting the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 
  • Integrated Reporting Framework — allows you to align capital allocation and corporate behaviour to wider goals of financial stability and sustainable development. 

 

It is hard to know which of those are best for your business as it does all very much depend on your operations and which fit well with your material issues. Our Navigating through the sustainability reporting landscape guide addresses this further with a detailed decision pathway to help you on your sustainability journey. For more help or your own copy of the guide, download here or get in touch.

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