The Shift in focus to Better Sustainability Reporting
Drs. Jodi York, Chris Dembek, and Brad Potter of the University of Melbourne, Australia, and Wesley Gee of The Works Design Communications, Canada
December 21, 2017
Companies that communicate strong impact performance enjoy a range of benefits, such as stronger, more enduring revenue streams; less employee turnover; and lower regulatory risk. Despite the potential benefits of effective sustainability reporting, companies often see this form of reporting as an exercise to meet stakeholder expectations, with little real connection to the core operations of the business.
We argue for a shift in focus from reports to reporting. Formal sustainability reports should be an important part of a larger platform for understanding and communicating organizational performance, rather than the production of a sustainability report being an end in itself. In this report, we draw on relevant research, global best practices, and interviews with seven Canadian companies and their stakeholders to identify opportunities for enhancing the effectiveness and impact of sustainability reporting. We show how effective sustainability reporting – i.e. reporting that reaches the right audience at the right time in the right format for maximum impact – is a function of both what is disclosed and how this information is shared.
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Topics: impact reporting
Specialties: systems thinking, research, impact strategy & management, impact measurement & reporting, theory of change development, facilitation.