Understanding your Organisational Sustainability
Businesses all over the world are paying more attention to using resources more responsibly and are looking for sustainability support, specifically related to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance. This is directly driven by long-term investors such as pension funds and consumers are also increasingly interested in ESG performance of a company. Measuring and reporting your GHG emissions will help your business understand its carbon sources and identify opportunities to reduce emissions and costs, improve your reputation and manage long term business risks.
Methods of Measuring your Organisational Sustainability
An important indicator of sustainability is a company’s climate change impact or carbon footprint. Measuring your carbon footprint is an advantageous way to start taking a look at the overall impact your product and organisation have on the environment and society, and setting emission reduction targets, including Science-based targets. Carbon calculations are also necessary for sustainability reporting, such as complying with the Global Reporting Initiative standards, participating in the Carbon Disclosure Project, or seeking an Eco Label. By measuring and reporting GHG emissions companies can begin to set targets and put in place emissions management initiatives to reduce emissions in the future.
Another way companies are determining their ESG impact is via impact measurement, focused on the negative and positive externalities of the company’s business activities. Businesses and organizations rely on many resources including raw materials, industry knowledge, employees, investors and consumers. These can be categorized into different forms of ‘Capital’. These are: Natural Capital (environmental), Economic Capital (financial), Human Capital (knowledge and skills) or Social Capital (societal).
One way to assess the contribution of a company is to measure the value of these resources by quantifying the impact in financial (monetisation) or physical terms. By assigning a value to various environmental impacts, it can be more easily compared to other indicators and communicated to management. For example, this approach can be applied using Eco-Efficiency Analysis, where financial information is combined with environmental information in order to optimize reduced environmental impact in proportion to a product’s cost-effectiveness.
The European Union developed a standardized methodology for measuring the environmental performance of an organisation called the Organisational Environmental Footprint (OEF). The OEF is designed to reduce the environmental impacts associated with organisational activities (including supply chain).
Corporate Reporting & Target Setting
Communicating your organisational sustainability is increasingly done through corporate sustainability reporting. A sustainability report is a report published by a company or organization disclosing the economic, environmental, and social impacts of its activities. It also presents the organization’s values, management approach, and governance model, and demonstrates the link between its strategy and commitment to a sustainable global economy. Sustainability reporting can help to understand carbon performance, set goals, manage change more effectively, and communicate sustainability performance to external stakeholders and customers.
Traditionally corporate sustainability reporting is often done via a sustainability year report. Although more and more organisations are now reporting on their non-financial performance as part of their annual report (integrated reporting). Such reports do not only disclose the sustainability performance itself but usually also focus on setting non-financial targets to improve the sustainability performance.
There are a number of standards and protocols for conducting sustainability reporting. The main internationally recognised standards include the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
Ecomatters provides sustainability support in many capacities. Our strategic advice, target-setting and reporting service can help you ensure that your organisation’s reporting meets regulatory requirements as well as your corporate objectives. Ecomatters offers a full range of services for small to large multi-national corporations.
It is our priority to work closely with you to go beyond the numbers and make sustainability mean something productive for your business. In order to offer effective support, we are up to date on the global standards for emissions and carbon calculation methods.
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