Sustainability reporting helps organizations to measure their environmental impact and determine ways to make improvements. Every organization has a responsibility to make sustainability a priority in its operations and activities.
Sustainability reports play an important role in helping an organization monitor and make recommendations for sustainability initiatives. Organizations publish these reports to share the environmental and social impact of their everyday activities. By measuring their impact, they accept responsibility and renew their commitment to shrinking their environmental footprint.
Often, these reports consist of an analysis of the organization's current efforts for each sustainability factor, where they can make critical improvements, and sustainability recommendations are going forward.
In fact, out of the 250 largest companies around the world, 95% publish sustainability reports. There is no standard reporting framework for an organization to lean on, although many use the Global Reporting Initiative, which outlines nine distinct aspects of sustainability. Once you know where your organization stands on the sustainability front, you can convince key decision-makers to provide the buy-in to bring your efforts to the next level.
There are many factors sustainability managers can report on, here are a few to consider:
Conserving energy can help to combat climate change and reduce your organization's impact on the environment. The types of energy that many facilities use include electricity, heating, fuel, etc.
Is your organization doing anything to reduce energy usage? Have you implemented any energy-efficient processes? Consider the ways your organization is making strides and where there is room for improvement. For instance, if you're using energy-efficient lightbulbs in your facilities or other similar initiatives, report on these enhancements.
Propose solutions to critical decision-makers such as the possibility of using renewable energy in your facilities (wind, solar, etc.) Make recommendations for how the organization can move forward in making daily processes more energy efficient.
The improper disposal and transportation of waste can be harmful to human health and the environment. Determine if your organization has an effective garbage disposal and recycling systems in place. Do you have a recycling program? Have you considered ways to encourage more people who visit or work in your facility to play an active role in waste initiatives?
Start by strategically placing more indoor waste bins and outdoor waste bins through-out the premises. Ensure your bins also have a stream for composting, so you can reduce food waste. Report on how your organization is succeeding with waste removal and how it can do better.
Sustainability managers should report on emissions such as CO2, nitrous oxide, methane, and more. How is your organization contributing to the increase in emissions? These pollutants can have effects on climate change, agriculture, health, etc. Determine ways that you can make critical improvements to air quality by reducing emissions. Include current measures and future implementations in your sustainability report.
For instance, what is the total amount of emissions being released from employees when traveling to the facility or embarking on other work-related travel? If your employees drive to work every day, perhaps you can provide them with public transportation passes. Additionally, facilitate carpool programs to encourage more employees to drive to your facility together. Make your facility more cycling-friendly, with a dedicated rack for employees to securely lock their bikes.
The amount of water used by an organization can affect the overall ecosystem. How does your organization consume water? Report on the amount of water used and the processes associated with withdrawing water from various sources. Take into consideration others who need water in your facility and ensure you're allowing them to have equal access. Make recommendations for how your organization can recycle/reuse water and improve overall water management.
Biodiversity includes the plants, animals, and overall ecosystem that surrounds us all. It's essential to protect this ecosystem because it provides a source of food security and clean air.
How is your organization protecting biodiversity? Consider the footprint your organization has on living and non-living things. Report on how well your organization is doing when it comes to making considerations about biodiversity. Where can it make critical improvements in reducing its impact on biodiversity?