Managing Sustainability: Reporting

The notion that long-term profitability goes hand in hand with social justice has become increasingly popular in business enterprise objectives and strategies. Moving towards a sustainable economy has become a need for business financiers, customers and other stakeholders.

Sustainability is not a product; it is a process. Strategic thinking is required for sustainability reporting regarding the impact of the enterprise on sustainability as well as the impact of sustainability on the enterprise. This process involves the gathering of input in order to report of on sustainability that may aid management to enhance the organisation's strength and turn insights into ways to address weaknesses, risks, as well as opportunities. Sustainability reporting offers management the opportunity to reassess the company's values, corporate culture and strategies for the long term.

Why should businesses follow sustainability reporting guidelines?

Sustainability reporting helps companies set goals, measure performance, and manage change in order to make their business practices more sustainable. By using a sustainability report to analyse the enterprise' impacts on the environment, we can understand and manage the effects of sustainable development on the business' activities and strategy. In addition, sustainable reporting provides stakeholders with enhanced information on the business' status to better inform decisions.


How can businesses analyse and report on their sustainability?

G4 is a sustainability reporting guideline developed to aid in creating sustainability reports that contain valuable sustainability-related information about the enterprise. G4 emphasises the need for sustainability reporting focused on ‘materiality' in order to make reports more relevant, credible and user-friendly.

What are the benefits of sustainability reporting?

The internal benefits of sustainability reporting include an increased understanding of risks and opportunities, ability to influence long-term management strategy and business plans as well as streamlining of processes, reducing of costs and improving the efficiency of productivity. The external benefits of sustainable reporting, on the other hand, include mitigation of negative environmental issues or social impacts of the enterprise, improving the business' brand and reputation, offering stakeholders insight into the company's values and company culture and inform the markets and society on the sustainability of your business that focuses on materiality. In turn, this new focus on materiality means that sustainability reports will be centred on the issues that are critical to achieve the organisation's goals and manage its impact on society and the harm to the environment.

What is materiality?

With regards to sustainability, materiality is the backbone of reporting. In order to identify the materiality of the business, materiality assessments need to be done. Materiality should guide the reporting and the strategy of the enterprise and may require different information for each aspect. By reaching out to the internal and external stakeholders of the business, as a business, you need to have a clear understanding of what information you are looking for from your stakeholders to report (look backwards) and strategise (look forward). HV Promotions provides the training for material development to large companies as expert sustainability consultants.