Are you making the most of your company’s sustainability reporting?16. January 2023 - Berit Kristine Bøggild, Client Director at MannazLale Lee, Senior Consultant at Mannaz Share
The EU taxonomy for sustainable activities and the EU Corporate Social Reporting Directive (CSRD) are placing new demands on companies’ annual reports that have already started affecting many organisations. While the hunt for new sustainability data is on, many people overlook the huge potential these data hold. Why not use these numbers more purposefully as a catalyst for your sustainable impact and growth? Your organisation’s sustainability performance data can help you tap into wider opportunities if you dig them out of your annual report and breathe life into them.
EU taxonomy. CSRD. ESG factors. Annual reports. Sustainability indicators. If you are still reading this article, you are likely to be aware of the growing focus on EU’s new sustainability reporting standards, which makes your customers and investors inquire in new ways about your organisation´s sustainability performance and data.
At first glance, you would probably rather avoid having these kinds of complex and technical reporting obligations and assignments ending up on your desk, as they are often viewed as troublesome, and tedious. This is exactly why many people overlook the huge potential that the sustainability data hold for them!
Underneath the technical jargon you will find gold, the kind of gold that can become a catalyst for change, greater business opportunities and growth for your organisation. Hence, our message in this article is that your organisation should seize the opportunity to think bigger – much bigger than just compiling data for the annual report – when the organisation is busy digging out sustainability data anyway. A huge potential is hidden here.
Waiting or proactive? Now is the time to act
We have seen much delay in translating sustainability ambitions into concrete actions. Governments and companies have talked about sustainability for a long time but, in reality, it seems like many of them have been waiting for ‘the other one’ to take the initiative. Companies have waited for a critical mass of customer demand to emerge, while customers have waited for the companies to deliver more sustainable products and services. However, it is no longer possible to wait and lose time.
The writing on the wall is clear. The arrow points in one direction only and Denmark’s and Europe’s ambition is to lead the way forward. The Danish Government’s commitment for a 70% emission reduction by 2030 is an ambitious goal that requires a strong effort from the state, regions, municipalities, as well as from companies, organisations, and citizens. What’s more, the new EU sustainability reporting standards will pave the way for sustainability not only in environmental terms, but also in social and governance terms.
It is promising to see once again that some of Denmark’s largest companies have already taken the lead. Grundfos and Novo, for example, have placed sustainability demands on their supply chains, creating a positive domino effect for greater sustainability across their value chains, regardless of the size of the organisation.
Your organisation’s sustainability performance data can help you to tap into wider opportunities if you dig them out of your annual report and breathe life into them.
Dead numbers or a catalyst for action?
Your organisation’s sustainability performance data can help you to tap into wider opportunities if you dig them out of your annual report and breathe life into them. Here at Mannaz, we leave it to other specialists to calculate sustainability numbers. But we are experts at helping you navigate the sustainability landscape in a strategic manner, making sense of your data and utilizing them to prepare and develop your people, organisation, and business to comply with new sustainability requirements, to seize new market opportunities, and to achieve your sustainability goals.
Besides the straightforward use of data to document and comply with the reporting requirements for sustainability, we would like to highlight 3 key ways to gain value from your company’s sustainability data:
- Better decisions and learning opportunities for progress:
Sustainability data document whether your actions create substantial change and improvements impact. With this clarity, data help you answer what would be the best – or at least a good – sustainable business choice. As the knowledge base within the organisation increases over time, these new learning opportunities allow you to make well-informed decisions for your organisation.
- Competitive advantage:
Your sustainability data can be an asset in your partnerships and investor and client relations. Especially with the new requirements under the EU taxonomy and CSRD, it is expected that customers and collaborators will start inquiring more thoroughly about your organisation`s sustainability performance. Knowing which of your data could make a positive difference for your customers and collaborators is important, as is your organisation´s ability to provide sustainability data faster, more reliably, and with more relevance than your competitors.
- Catalyst for implementation:
Timely measurement of sustainability performance is also important to allow you to discover and correct insufficient or inadequate impact of activities throughout the year. It is a missed opportunity (and troublesome) to end up with data showing a lack of implementation by the end the year, when it is too late to improve the data for the annual report. However, if you track and use data regularly throughout the year, you can increase your chances of benefiting from the data when communicating your progress – or the lack thereof – and stimulate timely and focused action from your organisation.
One of the places we experience this is in our collaboration with UN Global Compact Network Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and Norway on their TGE accelerator programmes, where we help companies who join to progress on the gender equality part of sustainability. Another typical experience come from our direct advisory and facilitator work with individual companies on their broader sustainability strategies.
Great value for project managers
If your organisation is managing a lot of customer projects, sustainability data can contribute to your project management by adding new indicators for performance. Aside from the traditional requirements for time, content, and resources on the project triangle, you can also create great value by approaching the project through a sustainability lens. If you ’double-click’ on the project triangle, you will already now see new requirements for what it means to deliver at the right time with the right content and the right amount of resources used.
To give an example, imagine that you are a project manager whose solution, though delivering at an agreed price and time in the traditional sense, did not account for sustainability. For example, not taking account of new requirements for materials, support of biodiversity, waste management and diversity in your project team. In this case, you have ended up delivering only a portion of the requested solution to the customer. As a project manager with a stronger focus on sustainability, you could be better suited to advise on the right course of action and create more value for your customer both in the short- and the long-term.
What is more, catching up with the new sustainability requirements in your project would prove that you have anticipated, proactively managed and delivered greater benefits to your customers and your organisation alike.
Lack of relevant competencies may result in a slow implementation of your strategy or the risk of non-compliance with regulatory requirements.
The intelligent investment in competency upgrades and engagement
It is fair to say that sustainability is a constantly moving target. Requirements as well as solutions are continuously being developed, and you are likely to realise that your organisation needs new sustainability competencies. Lack of relevant competencies may result in a slow implementation of your strategy or the risk of non-compliance with regulatory requirements. At Mannaz we know how to help you utilize your data to inform and involve your employees on sustainable solutions and their potential value. We can also support you to find out your organisation’s sustainability competency needs and offer you a wide range of effective learning tools and approaches, tailored to upgrade your people’s skills and to take your organisation to the next level.
We welcome a dialogue on your sustainability challenges and opportunities. Feel free to contact us here.