Making Sustainability Reporting Easier for SMEs
While Sustainability Reporting has now been accepted as a common practice among the biggest corporations in the world, it is not exactly the case for smaller ones yet. According to a Greenbiz article published by IW Financial, SMEs reporting is a growing trend but still remains low compared to big companies: less than 10% of organizations within the Russell 3000 publish GRI-based CSR reports, against 82% of the G250.
In France, figures aren’t a lot better. Only 40% of medium-sized companies now publish Sustainability reports, despite the Grenelle II regulation making reporting mandatory for all companies with more than 500 employees. Smaller companies definitely face their own challenges when it comes to publishing social or environmental data:
- Most of them are in need of a strategic vision and management leadership.
- Few of them calculate the ROI of their CSR initiatives.
- They have less financial resources, CSR competencies or simply experience in the subject.
- With no appropriate (yet expensive) tools, data collection can become a nightmare.
- Having too many reporting frameworks can be confusing for beginners.
- They’re not used to disclosing performance-related data and content publicly.
However, with the new European directive on non-financial reporting, over 6000 European organizations will soon need to learn how to overcome these challenges and start their 1st CSR report. Making Sustainability Reporting easier for these beginners is the mission we pursue at Wizness with our Publisher tool, as Benoit Terpereau, Head of Wizness, explains:
” I’m coming from the Web and IT world and one thing I remember from my early days at Wizness, is being dumbstruck with the way companies were communicating around their Sustainability performance. In the world of Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter, most of them were still publishing long PDF reports that were not mobile-ready nor social-media friendly. I told my team we needed to change that and provide companies with an easy-to-use and cost-efficient tool they could use to publish digital and interactive reports on their own.”
The Publisher tool is particularly adapted to smaller organizations for several reasons:
- Its user-friendliness: No need to know how to code or have a degree in webdesign, creating your online report is as simple as using a blogging platform.
- Its content: Specific templates, based on the most widely used Sustainability reporting frameworks or regulations, are available to easily get started. The GRI template for instance provides simplified instructions to better understand the G4 framework and get additional information to follow its guidelines with greater ease.
- Its cost: With licenses priced between $3000 and $7000 depending on the framework & customization features needed, the tool is really cost-efficient for most companies.
“We encourage companies to change their vision around their compliance obligations and transform them into fantastic communication opportunities.” explains Benoit. “The benefits of going digital are huge in terms of brand image: not only will companies decrease their compliance and reputation risks, they will also greatly improve and modernize their publications while putting more visibility into their CSR actions”.
But don’t get him wrong, Benoit is talking about transparency as a way to fight greenwashing (and not feed it) :
“Publishing your report online is closely related to interactivity and dialogue. Engaging your stakeholders goes through letting them comment your report and share it on Social Media. You’ll only win their trust back by letting them have their say in a more transparent way.”
Whether you’re a small or medium-sized company wishing to start a CSR report for the 1st time, or a bigger one already convinced about digital reporting, why not give it a try with our 15 day free trial?