Most people could imagine what life might look like living on a healthier, happier planet: untold natural beauty, greater security, and a deeper sense of connection with humans and other forms of life.
But how might the world of business change if planetary welfare was made a cornerstone of the modern economy?
Sustainability reporting has become a critical practice among modern brands, but many still believe prioritizing the initiative means sacrificing progress—and the reality is quite the contrary. Not only can the benefits of corporate sustainability reporting help companies gain a foothold in the future economy, but reporting can also invite many benefits to businesses that adopt their initiatives early.
1. Building trust with ethics-driven consumers
Many factors have catalyzed companies to embrace sustainability reporting, one of the most decisive factors being the 2008 financial crisis. Following the loss of consumer trust in corporations, businesses were tasked with rebuilding their pillars to foster more corporate responsibility and transparency.
Today, study after study shows that droves of modern buyers are motivated to convert when they see (and believe) that a brand is mission-driven. And as the definition of sustainability expands, “mission” incorporates a variety of objectives, including:
- Reducing carbon emissions
- Bringing on more teammates from diverse backgrounds
- Rethinking supply chain strategy to meet sustainability goals
- Publishing C-suite earnings each quarter
- Providing more benefits like PTO or parental leave to employees
Ultimately, the majority of today’s consumers embrace a “dollar voting” mentality—and they want to vote based on which brands are changing the world for the better. By making sustainability reporting a core company practice, you’ll not only demonstrate those shared values but make gains on them, too.
2. Appealing to ESG investors
If your business is looking to bring on more investors to your enterprise, propping up a consistent sustainability reporting program could critically impact growth.
The explosion of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores has broken countless records in the past three years. In 2020 alone, assets selected according to ESG principles were estimated to be valued at some $17.1 trillion. When it comes to the main difference between ESG vs. sustainability, ESG allows investors to explicitly assess how the environmental, social, and governance criteria impact the long-term value of a company.
ESG reporting is an investor-driven practice designed to promote transparency around potential financial impact of risks and opportunities. This allows investors to make more informed decisions—without this transparency, they’re left without proper context and information.
3. Creating more efficient internal processes
Whether you’re a manufacturing firm or a marketing agency, every business stands to gain from economizing its resource use, processes, and workflows.
By taking a closer look at operations data, sustainability reporting allows businesses to identify redundancies and inefficiencies. From there, you and your team can redesign internal systems to free up bandwidth, resources, and unnecessary tolls on the environment.
4. Maintaining certifications with third parties
Distinct from annual sustainability reporting, many industries maintain separate certifications and designations to convey how companies or products meet certain standards. That said, the certifications, standards, and criteria vary by industry.
For example, the LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) places emphasis on building with environmentally optimal design, construction, and operations. Fair Trade designation, on the other hand, signifies equitable trade relationships between producers in developing countries that maintain certain social and environmental practices and the buyers.
If you’re a brand seeking assurance with a third-party regulatory body, you’ll need to keep up with the various standards and audit processes bespoke to each certification provider. This is where integrating sustainability reporting software is critical. The right platform measures scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, suggests ways to manage them, and then reports the data on a single dashboard. This helps companies maintain compliance and identify areas for improvement according to verification standards.
5. Differentiating businesses from competitors
Transformations in tech have catalyzed consumers’ shopping experiences. In the same way, transformations in the environment (and our awareness of environmental issues) are catalyzing the rate at which sustainability reporting is becoming a routine best business practice.
Embedding ESG into your core business function provides a competitive advantage. You can determine the long-term value and company resilience by assessing risks and opportunities as a core business strategy concerning environmental impact. Regularly reporting critical data and transparency for internal and external stakeholders builds trust and brand loyalty.
For consultants, executives, and entrepreneurs alike, this is crucial to establishing a firm’s longevity. In a future made uncertain by the climate crisis, implementing a consistent, thorough reporting system is crucial for mapping current systems and forecasting the most strategic places to adapt.
6. Making measurable, meaningful climate progress
The final benefit of sustainability reporting anchors the very core of sustainability efforts: to maintain ecological balance so that we, as a global community, can continue to prosper.
When companies large and small integrate with systems that bring sustainable practices to the center of their organizations, they contribute to a call to arms that benefits everyone: the future of our shared planet.
Envision your progress and the planet with Sustain.Life
Like a thumbprint, each business has its own identity—and something unique to contribute to the fight against climate change. Discovering what sets a brand apart could start with learning what its carbon footprint looks like and creating a plan for reducing it with Sustain.Life. Furthermore, become familiar with the best sustainability report design examples to inspire your company’s upcoming report.
Sustain.Life is a sustainability management software company dedicated to helping companies measure, manage, and generate sustainability reports to meet their future objectives. Whatever yours are, schedule a sustainability management software demo with us today to see how we can help bring your future to fruition.
1. Harvard Business Review. Research: Actually, Consumers Do Buy Sustainable Products. https://hbr.org/2019/06/research-actually-consumers-do-buy-sustainable-products Accessed February 28, 2023
2. Investopedia. What Is Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Investing? https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/environmental-social-and-governance-esg-criteria.asp Accessed February 28, 2023