Today it is a best practice for companies of all sizes to be proactive, and transparent, reporting on their sustainability efforts. Why? Because there is growing demand from all corners.
Investors: Connecting Profitability with Corporate Responsibility
More and more investors—not just socially responsible investors (SRIs) but mainstream investors—recognize the direct link between corporate sustainability performance and financial performance. In fact many studies show that sound sustainability strategy can provide positive influence on stock price, lower the cost of capital and improve operational performance. The “non-financial” risks turn out to be very material, real bottom-line-affecting risks.
Customers: Building Trust
Customers demand an inside look into company business decisions and leadership practices. Being transparent about your product safety measures, marketing policies and data privacy are just a few ways to turn them into brand advocates. Getting feedback from your customers is also a great way to make key operational improvements that will support your overall sustainability strategy.
Your People: Engaging Current and Future Employees
Employees are your biggest advocates and force for change as your company navigates challenges and creates your future state. In a report IOP recently worked on this employee feedback was shared with us:
“I have limited words to describe how great, how inspiring the [integrated] report is. When I’m reading the report, I feel so proud of our company, so proud of our people! Especially when I see the innovations… mentioned in the report, I really feel our daily work [is] highly linked to company’s strategy, and contributed to the company’s growth.”
RL, Innovation Management / Products
That’s just the feedback you want!
More than half of millennials say they would take a pay cut to work at a company that matches their values. 90% say they want to use their skills for good. And according to a survey commissioned by the Global Reporting Initiative, a potential employer’s sustainability report is read by about 40% of job hunters. Communicating your sustainability efforts demonstrates your commitment to corporate responsibility.
Communities Where You Operate: Building Your Reputation
Engaging with stakeholders, NGOs, governments and local communities helps your company enhance its reputation and build goodwill. These “Opinion Elites” can affect the tipping point for reputation and are a leading indicator of reputation change. Reporting goes beyond highlighting successes, it also brings to light goals and ongoing progress. In 2016, Harvard Business Review published “The Comprehensive Business Case for Sustainability,” which argues the benefits of corporate sustainability far outweigh the costs. And one of those biggest benefits is the reputation enhancement of truly walking the talk.
Your Supply Chain: Managing Risk
You should be aware of any risks in your supply chain. These can range from climate change impacts on water and agriculture to social unrest. Reporting allows you to both showcase your own commitments and examine your existing business relationships. More and more companies require this information of everyone inside their supply and value chains, to ensure that all of their partners are equally committed to being responsible corporate citizens.
Your Innovation Engine: New Products and Services
Investing in sustainability can drive innovation. Redesigning products and services to meet environmental standards or social needs offers new business opportunities. Reporting on your efforts is a virtuous circle, your employees and customers are demanding innovative solutions and how better to foster innovation and share progress.
People do care about your company’s commitment to sustainability and online, in print or as a PDF, your report is a great way to demonstrate that commitment. And, the process of reporting itself can lead to business improvements and innovation, helping the company in ways that are not immediately obvious.
Struggling to effectively communicate your story? Ideas On Purpose can help.