The Value of Sustainability Reporting

Sustainability reporting is on the rise in the corporate world, notes the Governance & Accountability Institute Inc. According to the institute, slightly under 20 percent of S&P 500 companies issued corporate sustainability reports in 2011. Now, in 2015, that number has grown to 75 percent. This rapid growth highlights sustainability reporting and its importance. If you haven’t embraced sustainability reporting yet, discover some of the reasons sustainability reporting is valuable to your business.

Sustainable Reporting Cuts Costs

Image via Flickr by IntelFreePress

Adopting more sustainable practices can yield significant savings. At its heart, sustainability is all about using less. When you use less water, less energy, and fewer resources, your business is bound to save money. Compiling sustainability reports calls for businesses to collect data which can bring issues to light. For example, Teak Wall, sustainability program manager of New Seasons supermarkets, told Triple Pundit’s Julie Urlaub she noticed one store was using twice the amount of water she expected. This information allowed her to correct the issue that she was previously unaware of and save money.

Sustainability Matters to Consumers

Andrew Jones of VentureBeat says that customers are the lifeblood of any business. Given consumers’ vital role in your company’s success, what matters to your consumers should matter to you. According to recent research, sustainability is one of their key concerns.

Key Takeaways:

  • A global survey conducted by Nielsen in 2014 found that 55 percent of all consumers are willing to pay more for the products and services provided by businesses committed to positive social and environmental outcomes.
  • With more than half of all consumers so committed to sustainability, businesses should take measures to monitor their impact through sustainable reporting.

Sustainability Reports Help Your Company Appear Transparent

Customer service consultant and business expert Micah Solomon wrote in a 2015 Forbes article that transparency is a corporate attribute that consumers, especially millennials, prize. Publishing sustainability reports is an excellent way to show transparency, as these reports detail a business and its practices and demonstrate it has nothing to hide. According to Environmental Leader, the transparency that publishing sustainability reports creates helps build trust and brand loyalty among consumers.

Crafting Sustainability Reports With Detail

Sustainability is a growing area that has been added as a new concentration to Master of Science in Management degrees. Gaining these qualifications will give you an in-depth understanding of sustainability that will help you craft these reports.

In an article for, Paul Leavoy of LNS Research stresses focusing on metrics and accountable accomplishments:

  •  Your sustainability report should clearly state your sustainable objectives and detail methodologies and provable metrics to show your achievements.
  • Leavoy says you should also refer to internationally recognized frameworks, such as those provided by the Global Reporting Initiative or CDP. These frameworks clearly detail the type of metrics companies should offer and the information they should detail in their sustainability reports.
  • Adhering to established reporting frameworks ensures that important information is not omitted from your study.

In the business world, companies that do not issue sustainability reports are already in the minority. If you don’t embrace sustainability reporting now, when will you embrace it?