Increasingly, business leaders understand that profitability isn’t the only metric to consider. Sustainability is essential for businesses to foster long-term growth and resilience.
The challenge lies in accurately measuring and reporting on key sustainability metrics. This requires a strategic approach tailored to each business. Accurate data collection is also vital, which can be facilitated by technology.
What is ESG?
Essentially, ESG refers to the environmental, social, and governance issues that are important to the company and its stakeholders. This includes things such as carbon emissions, sourcing practices, diversity and inclusion, and corporate responsibility.
As governments, NGOs, investors, and consumers become increasingly concerned about ESG factors, companies are being forced to report on their efforts in these areas. The goal is to show that they are taking steps to improve and are not simply ignoring their impacts on society.
For this reason, it is important to build a digital solution that makes ESG reporting easier than ever before. A cloud-based platform can remove friction in the process by centralizing all data and allowing for easy access. This can help companies save time and money by reducing the amount of manual effort required to assemble reports. It also helps ensure that the information being reported is accurate and up-to-date. This is vital to ensuring that stakeholders have confidence in the company’s claims.
ESG Reporting Frameworks
In recent years, regulatory developments, investor demand and public awareness have brought ESG issues into the spotlight. With this increased focus, companies have started to adopt a wide range of voluntary reporting frameworks. Each framework has its own set of disclosure requirements, audience focus and methodology.
Choosing which one to use can be complicated. Ultimately, you should choose a framework that aligns with your organization’s goals and strategies. In addition, consider your primary audiences – investors, customers, employees, etc. – to determine which information is most valuable.
Additionally, it’s important to know if your industry imposes specific disclosure requirements. For example, the TCFD requires financial institutions and companies listed on the HK Exchange to report on climate change impacts and mitigation strategies.
Choosing the right ESG metrics is critical to ensuring accurate and comprehensive reporting. This is especially true as capital markets demand more transparency into companies’ internal ESG initiatives and policies, while addressing broader environmental, social, and governance challenges.
Some of these are quantitative, such as greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, while others are qualitative, such as a company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) or labor practices. Companies should look at industry trends, ESG scoring platforms, and disclosure standards like the GRI or SASB to determine what is most relevant to their business.
Once the metrics are selected, it’s important to measure them on a regular basis. This can help identify gaps in a company’s operations and provide valuable insights into its sustainability progress. It can also improve trust and credibility with key stakeholders. Achieving and maintaining high ESG scores can help drive business value by attracting investors, improving brand recognition, and increasing market opportunity.
ESG Data Collection
The data needed to support ESG reporting can be found throughout the organization, from departments like finance and HR to procurement and operations. It may also come from external sources, including customers and suppliers. It can be challenging to consolidate and integrate this data in ways that are useful to the company and meet investor and other stakeholder demands.
To ensure accurate data collection, companies should first identify the ESG metrics that are most important to them. This can be done by conducting a materiality assessment, or by reviewing the reporting requirements of their investors or stakeholders. Having processes in place to gather the right information and manage it effectively can help minimize time spent on collecting and analyzing data that isn’t required for their reporting obligations.
Once a process is in place, it’s important to continually update it to account for regulatory changes and evolving ESG strategies. This will ensure that the collected data is relevant, consistent, and high-quality.
Environmental reports are a way for businesses to promote their sustainability. They reveal information about a company’s social accountability and can provide valuable insight into the environmental issues facing a community.
However, this type of reporting is only useful if the information provided is accurate and verifiable. Otherwise, it can have a negative impact on the company’s reputation.
They are a legal requirement
An environmental report, also known as a records search and risk assessment (RSRA) is a necessary step for most commercial real estate development projects. These reports identify any underlying environmental contamination, which is technically called recognized environmental conditions (RECs). This type of contamination could affect the health and safety of future property occupants. The RSRA is usually part of the due diligence process before a lender will approve a loan to finance a project.
The environmental reporting industry is rapidly expanding as more customers and investors demand information about sustainability. In the future, this may even include environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting.
Managing all of this data can be challenging, especially as organizations work toward becoming more sustainable. This is why many companies are turning to FigBytes, a platform that helps future-focused businesses manage their environmental, sustainability, and compliance programs on one secure, centralized, cloud-based platform. Using a comprehensive reporting system like this allows organizations to meet all their environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) compliance requirements with ease.
They are a marketing tool
Businesses need to consider a variety of factors in their marketing environmental analysis, including economic climate, technological advancements, social trends, and legal and political issues. This allows them to adjust their strategies to reflect changes in societal values and perceptions. The analysis also helps companies identify strengths and weaknesses in their operations. It can be a useful tool for making informed decisions about marketing and product development.
As more governments around the world begin mandating environmental disclosures, there has been a steady increase in demand for technology solutions to track and report this data. One such solution is environmental reporting software, which monitors the impact of a business’s activities and communicates it to stakeholders.
This software can help you manage your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs on a single platform. It can also help you develop more meaningful sustainability initiatives that go beyond environmental compliance. It’s important to remember that the best sustainability program is a holistic one that addresses all areas of your business.
They are a way of reducing risk
Environmental reports help businesses track and improve their sustainability efforts, as well as reduce unforeseen risks. They are also a crucial tool for investors, as they can signal that companies are good stewards of the environment and are committed to reducing carbon emissions and other environmental impacts.
In the real estate industry, environmental reports are often ordered by lenders and developers as part of due diligence. These assessments are a good way to identify contaminated properties and head off potential problems later on. These issues may include contamination that poses a health risk to residents or contaminates water supply.
A complete ESA typically consists of two parts: the Phase I ESA, which examines property records to determine the likelihood that contaminants exist, and the Phase II ESA, which involves a hands-on physical inspection of the property. Both parts can take anywhere from a few days to a month to complete. Environmental reporting software helps businesses track and analyze their environmental data. It can help them monitor their energy efficiency, air quality, waste generation, and carbon emissions, and it can generate reports that can be used to measure and communicate their progress to stakeholders.
They are a way of promoting sustainability
Environmental reports are a way of promoting sustainability by showing that a company cares about the environment and its stakeholders. They can help companies meet regulatory compliance and build trust with customers, employees, and investors. They also provide a platform to discuss potential hazards and the steps that are being taken to mitigate them.
Creating a sustainability report can be a complex task, but a well-executed one will create a strong connection with your stakeholders. The process can involve a lot of internal data collection, stakeholder consultation, and review of documents and records. This can make your reports more accurate, comprehensive, and accessible.
The first step in creating a sustainability report is to decide why you are reporting. This will guide the rest of the process. Defining your purpose will ensure that the process is meaningful, and that you produce a report that makes an impact. It will also make it easier for you to meet deadlines and ensure that you have the right information to support your commitment to sustainability.
From NGOs to mass media newsrooms, journalists cover environmental issues at the local and global levels. Using tools like Shorthand, creating stunning web content is possible without IT expertise!
SEJ’s listserv for educators (available to SEJ members) is a great place to share ideas and resources. Visit the listserv here to join.
From climate change to biodiversity loss, the world is facing a host of environmental crises. These issues require sophisticated reporting and a deep understanding of how to approach them. They also require solutions-oriented journalism — news that shows people what is possible when they work together to address challenges.
Journalists working in this area have to be able to translate scientific jargon into understandable narrative for their audiences. They also often face dangerous situations, which makes it more difficult to report on the issue.
This makes the field of environmental journalism one that should appeal to journalists who are not afraid to step outside their comfort zone and take on big, complex stories. Examples include the journalists who are covering COP27, the UN’s main climate change conference, in Egypt. One of them is Helene Lea, a French-Tunisian investigative journalist who specializes in environmental and social stories and has notably conducted a cross-border investigation into a waste affair between Italy and Tunisia.
The network’s members are trained by experts to teach their colleagues how to report on environmental issues, including climate change. Using this knowledge, journalists can highlight government or corporate abuse of the natural world and the impact on people’s lives. They also use their work to promote environmental policies.
The Society of Environmental Journalists has been offering professional development opportunities to journalists since 2004. Its conferences, seminars, online courses and webinars help reporters to better cover the environment and its challenges. The organization also provides training in solutions journalism, which focuses on reporting about what is working to address climate change and other environmental problems.
The group’s trainers also encourage their trainees to create sections dedicated to environmental issues in their media organizations. This way, they can raise awareness about the importance of environmental issues and influence public opinion. They are also encouraged to expose governments or corporations that fail to meet their commitments to include Indigenous Peoples in decisions about the environment.
Whether tackling climate change, biodiversity loss or pollution from fossil fuels, environmental journalists are on the frontline of global issues. They report on natural disasters such as fires and floods, as well as the approval or improvement of environmental policies.
The Society of Environmental Journalists brings together a professional community at the global, regional and local levels through an annual conference, scores of regional forums, unique publications and training sessions. The network has 13,000+ members in 180+ countries.
As part of its mission to support environmental journalism in all its forms, SEJ offers a range of projects and supports its member journalists with grants, webinars and workshops. For example, the Solutions Journalism Network trains reporters to highlight and promote successful environmental actions. The diversity and equity committee advocates for greater coverage of issues that affect minority communities. And the Religion & Environment Story Project Fellowship supports journalists writing stories at the intersection of faith and ecology.
The network aims to create a global community of environmental journalists organized at the global, regional and local level. It offers a range of opportunities that empower journalists to report on the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. These include journalism workshops and webinars, media and story grants for reporters, as well as a range of fellowship opportunities including training in the use of Open Government Tools.
The funding programme aims to support Indigenous journalist networks, newsrooms and individual journalists in covering transnational conservation crimes in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. EJN welcomes applications from groups of journalists who self-identify as Indigenous, with the lead applicant responsible for communicating with EJN and receiving funds on behalf of the group if awarded a grant. The project should also include plans to develop an online platform to share and distribute investigative stories on this issue. The deadline for this opportunity is June 20, 2023.