Corporate Sustainability Reporting – Quick Start Guide

A 2014 survey of top executives at manufacturing sites revealed that 70% knew what sustainability was, and that they thought they were green. They also thought they were more green than their competitors, which is probably not true in all cases. Big-box chain stores, health & beauty products, and aerospace manufacturers have also started reaching down into their supply chains looking for their vendors to “be green”, and to do sustainability projects and reporting.

So what can you do to help yourself go green and report it so it counts?

A. Get familiar with the lingo. CSR stands for Corporate Sustainability Reporting. In some circles it can also mean Corporate Social Responsibility.

B. Get a team together. Ask your employees who would like to volunteer on the green team. In the best case you will have representation from all major departments, including top management.

C. Ask your customers what they are looking for in a “green” vendor. Find out how they report on their own progress. It may be beneficial to use some of their metrics.

D. Create a baseline. You have to know where you started before you can move in a clear direction.

E. Re-evaluate in a year. Most reporting agencies such as the Global Reporting Initiative, and the Carbon Disclosure Project, have deadlines for report submissions, so if you are starting your team’s efforts mid-year, figure out the deadlines and shoot for next year.

F. Seek resources such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development [http://www.wbcsd.org/home.aspx].

What other basics do you think people should know about Corporate Sustainability Reporting?

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