The reporting process
The sustainability reporting process should not be underestimated. It should be a comprehensive review of all of the organisation's impacts (good and bad) on society, environment and the economy. It is essential to get the board to buy in to the reporting process for it to be effective.
Here is an approximate outline of the step-by-step sustainability reporting process, outlined by GRI:
- Decide what your report will be like, who it's for and what format it will be produced in
- Make an action plan and timeline
- Hold a management meeting to engage the organisation's key people in the process.
- Agree the report objective, the budget and a delivery date.
- Connect (Stakeholder Engagement)
- Identify your organisation's stakeholders
- Prioritise your stakeholders
- Engage, or have dialogue, with your stakeholders
- Define the parameters of the report
- Analyse the material issues raised by stakeholders
- Identify additional issues which are relevant to the business
- Set a boundary for the report (What parts of the business will the report cover? What activities will it include? What will be excluded?)
- Agree a scope for the report (What issues will the report cover?)
- Using the indicators described in the GRI framework, check the availability of information
- Monitor and record activities
- Check and change internal procedures to meet reporting requirements
- Ensure the quality of the information (comparability; reliability; accuracy; clarity; timeliness; balance). Assurance (auditing) of the data is an option at this point
- Set performance goals
- Finalise the details
- Launch the report
- Prepare for the next reporting cycle
Adapted from the GRI Pathways "Let's Report!" publication.