By: Kevin Wilhelm CEO, Sustainable Business Consulting
Kevin Wilhelm is the CEO of Sustainable Business Consulting, a consulting firm that works directly with sustainability and executive teams to create impactful corporate responsibility strategies. Kevin brings two decades of experience working with 160+ businesses including Nordstrom, REI, Alaska Airlines, Expedia, The North Face, and recently the Seattle Sounders to become the first carbon neutral MLS team.
For corporate responsibility and sustainability directors all over the country, Earth Day festivities have passed and external reporting season is in full swing. This year, plan ahead to set yourself up for success for the long-term.
The Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) report is due towards the end of May, the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Walmart Scorecard are due in July, and corporate responsibility report deadlines are coming up. For most people tasked with completing these external reports, it can be an uphill battle. Here’s how to get ahead and launch your most impactful sustainability reporting season yet.
1) Align all your reporting questions and answers.
Questionnaire mapping for your sustainability reports takes some planning, but you’ll never look back after it’s done. At SBC, we’ve helped several firms use questionnaire mapping to align all the questions from the DJSI, ISS Sustainability Assessment, CDP, and Global Reporting Initiative, as well as personalizing for individual RFP and investor questionnaires. We help them create an expansive database of answers that they can research and create at one time. After this, you can simply insert relevant information as each new report comes your way rather than going through the process dozens of separate times.
2) To improve your score next year, you have to make progress this year.
Success doesn’t just happen, so you need a clear, actionable strategy for improving your sustainability metrics to reach your corporate responsibility goals by next year. We recommend a gap analysis for a sustainability report, such as the Carbon Disclosure Project, to level set and identify where you have room to grow. Then, you can create your plan of action based off of your growth areas with specific strategies and metrics to track, measure, and achieve your goals. Many people wait until November or December to discuss strategy for the next calendar year, but by then it’s likely already too late to make progress or schedule meetings until the following year. Get ahead of the game by starting now.
3) Focus on the qualitative.
Your quantitative scores sustainability may be out of your hands, as your organization’s energy, business travel, commuting are subject to business pressures often outside of your control. However, setting up your climate resiliency strategy and plan is not, nor is developing your governance, goals and targets for reduction. These qualitative planning steps are important not only for improving your score, but also for setting successful policies that can guide action for years to come.
This reporting season, take a step back. Take the time to plan for long-term success—we guarantee it will make your life much easier this time next year.
Interested in sustainability reporting support, questionnaire mapping, or sustainability strategy solutions? Contact SBC today for a free consultation on your existing sustainability program.