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What does the “State of Green Business” Report say about Sustainability Reporting?

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What does the “State of Green Business” Report say about Sustainability Reporting?

Last week, I pointed out the 5 best CSR Reporting resources released in 2013. Yet soon as I published my post, the 7th edition of one of the most expected green report came out, and therefore expressively deserved to be added to my reading list! As you might have guessed, I’m talking about The State of Green Business 2014, an absolute green Bible annually published by GreenBiz to inform us on the key Sustainability trends in the business world.

This year is no exception and this edition is particularly insightful, with precise data and analysis on the following 10 key trends: Collaboration, Chemical Transparency, Water Risk, Shadow Pricing, People/Sustainability, Food Sustainability, Employee Engagement, Energy Storage, Cities and Net Positive.

But what does the report say about Sustainability Reporting? Here’s the most relevant information I could gather from my reading:

Companies seem to have reached a “peak” in their Sustainability reporting practices, according to the amount of data disclosed in their reports, but also their transparency and external assurance levels.

We may soon reach the point where companies have picked the low hanging fruit on disclosure and transparency. That is, companies are saying most of what they plan to say about their environmental performance and impacts.”

Don’t get it wrong though: Sustainability reporting is a trend that is still growing, however companies currently reporting will not necessarily disclose more data that they do now. The overall disclosure score or third-party assurance indicator remain steady.

On the other hand, “one encouraging sign is that the biggest growth in sustainability reporting has taken place among sectors that have the biggest natural capital impacts: Food and Agriculture, Basic Resources, Utilities and Chemical.”

Still, two other facts really surprised me – the 1st one quite positively, yet the 2nd not so much:

  1. GHG reporting is growing at a product level, which means that companies no longer simply focus on Scope 1, 2 or 3 emissions, but on a whole deeper level in the value chain. 11% of global companies are already doing so (versus 4% only two years ago).
  2. Reporting on water risks leveled off in 2012, and it “should be growing faster”. The report doesn’t really provide a clear explanation for that figure so I’m perplex as to why companies tend not to report more on such important matters. Is this more complicated to consolidate than another data? Is it not so much of a material topic for companies?

Anyhow I definitely recommend you to download the report if you have any interest in learning more about the key trends mentioned above – or just read the detailed insights on corporate reporting I briefly summarized!

Another option is to come across amazingly inspiring quotes such as this one:

“In a world where technology connects everything, people are connecting the dots between the well-being of species and ecosystems and that of their companies, communities and families.”

Happy reading!

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