Corp sustainabilityreportgbestpracticeswpf1012


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Guidelines on sustainability reporting for small to medium size business enterprise.

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Corp sustainabilityreportgbestpracticeswpf1012

  1. 1. Best Practices for Developing an Authentic and Transparent Corporate Sustainability Report A Roadmap for Medium to Small Enterprise Prepared by: Copywriting for Sustainability
  2. 2. Best Practices for Developing an Authentic and Transparent Corporate Sustainability Report Page 1 TechScribe Communications (tel) 510.891.1981 • (fax) 510.645.1586 Why is Corporate Sustainability Reporting Important? Competing and winning in today’s volatile marketplace is not only driven by federal, state and local government sustainability regulations but also by the general public. Back in 2007 a study by market research leader GfK Roper showed that consumers favored having large companies prepare an annual corporate sustainability report or CSR indicating their impact on the environment. Keeping with this trend, a 2011 public opinion poll showed that 83% of the consumers surveyed think companies should accomplish business goals while trying to improve society and the environment.1 This trend is trickling down to the medium to small enterprise. If you are a mid- sized or small company, you’ll soon be expected to comply with specific standards or perhaps a sustainability index, especially if your plan is to engage big corporations. Mega companies such as Wal-Mart are assessing suppliers using their own sustainability index, whereby medium and small vendors must comply with specific criteria regarding their own practices, such as packaging, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. Recently, Proctor & Gamble and Kaiser Permanente began using similar indices. What does this mean for Medium to Small Enterprise? Now more than ever, it’s important for all businesses to know their impact on the environment and community. It’s worth noting that companies operating in high impact sectors, such as transportation, power generation, oil and heavy industries bare an even heavier burden in accounting for their environmental consumption, due to the inherent greenhouse gas emissions associated with their business operations. Steps to Improve your Sustainability Profile If you are hoping to work with large corporations or you would like to begin establishing and managing your sustainability profile, take into account the requirements and or concerns of your stakeholders. Anticipate questions regarding how your business operations relate to environmental standards and to society. This will help you in preparing a custom sustainability framework and in establishing your own relevant sustainability standards. Keep authenticity and transparency top of mind. The more relevant details and real numbers you indicate in your CSR, the better. Without a solid framework, your sustainability communications may not accurately align with your business activities, which could open up your organization to charges of greenwashing. This would render your communications efforts as ineffective and can also damage your company’s image. Sustainability: The capacity to endure; a business strategy that drives long-term corporate growth and profitability by managing the triple bottom line – financial, social and environmental opportunities and risks. Corporate Sustainability Reporting: Platform for developing a transparent story, as a unified message, regarding corporate financial performance, along with corporate environmental, social and governance behavior. Sustainability Index: Standards or criterion established to govern the process of making a product or providing a service and how the overall outcome of the product or service impacts the environment. Environmental Consumption: The efficient use of energy, as well as protection of the environment, including the recycling of materials.
  3. 3. Best Practices for Developing an Authentic and Transparent Corporate Sustainability Report Page 2 TechScribe Communications (tel) 510.891.1981 • (fax) 510.645.1586 Best Practice Steps to Ensure Sustainability Activities and Communications are Up to Snuff • Evaluate Business Operations – What’s your Carbon Footprint? Determine how much waste your business creates and how many carbon units are associated with operations. Once established, implement ways to reduce waste. • Reduce Energy Usage – Since energy use is a big factor in many sustainability indices, make sure your business is energy efficient. Whenever possible employ energy-saving tactics. For more information, visit • Select Suppliers Carefully – Just as large corporation sustainability indices consider your business practices, they also look at your suppliers’ practices and facilities as well. Make sure you do your own sustainability assessment when selecting your suppliers. • Improve the Community – Is your business providing a green service or product? If so, consider how it is improving the lives of people and communities. For example, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), sustainable building practices or green buildings promote and protect ecosystems and biodiversity. These and similar measures can add clout to your business’s sustainability profile. • Plan What You Will Communicate in Advance – Determine factors that are important to your company, along with any core issues it is facing. This will help in developing a cohesive storyline for your CSR, reflecting core values, as well as your impact on the environment and society. • Leverage Strengths – In your CSR feature activities and projects that highlight company strengths. Also expand the reach of this information by blasting related case studies using email marketing and social media marketing campaigns. • Manage Weaknesses – Like an annual report, your CSR can be used to keep your audience abreast of practices or initiatives that are still underway or in the planning stages. This strategy helps your company in initiating and framing difficult conversations regarding slow progress or things that could be construed negatively by your audience or the media. Benefits of Reporting Sustainable Practices While environmentally-friendly practices will bolster your reputation as an eco- conscious company and make you more appealing to the mega corporations, you’ll also derive other benefits such as: • Increased customer loyalty and attraction • Greater employee attraction and retention • Increased profit and stakeholder value • Increased competitiveness While the practice and experience of sustainability reporting is still young, the guidelines for medium to small enterprise are vague. By exercising authenticity and transparency and adopting the best practices we’ve indicated, your efforts will go to great lengths in establishing and improving your sustainability profile. Greenwashing: A form or spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to give the perception that a business’s practices are environmentally friendly. Carbon Footprint: Measure of the environmental impact of an organization’s operations, calculated in units of carbon dioxide.
  4. 4. Best Practices for Developing an Authentic and Transparent Corporate Sustainability Report Page 3 TechScribe Communications (tel) 510.891.1981 • (fax) 510.645.1586 About TechScribe Communications TechScribe Communications specializes in B2B strategic copywriting services to advance green initiatives and overall business sustainability. We develop distinct corporate reports, marketing communications, as well as email and social media campaigns to shorten lead conversion time, converting prospects to clients quicker. TechScribe is a Constant Contact Accredited Solution Provider and Authorized Local Expert. We are also a Hootsuite Solution Partner. For more information on how we help grow business and improve sustainability profiles, visit To view our case studies, visit © 2012 TechScribe, all rights reserved 1 The Do Well Do Good Public Opinion Survey on Sustainability, Second Annual Report – 2011 Do Well Do Good, LLC,