More transparency and standardisation required
The way FTSE 350 companies report their carbon and sustainability data lacks credibility, according to a government and industry backed study.
Greater standardisation and transparency are needed, argued the report carried out by Smart Sustainability, as all too often companies do not report or verify their carbon data emissions.
Even though investor groups demand a way to accurately compare sustainability reports, only 75 companies in the FTSE 350 published some kind of assurance for sustainability. Only 62 of these were carried out independently using a recognised assurance standard. Many others simply could not verify the emissions they reported.
For James Farrar, vice president corporate citizenship at SAP, being able to report carbon emissions is just the starting point. Beyond that, organisations need to understand how they are performing, the impact on the bottom line, supply chain management, product stewardship, green IT and accessibility in order for them to gain a full and integrated picture.
Rather than rely on manual input into Excel spreadsheets to gather the data once a year, companies need to leverage their enterprise software to bring them their sustainability performance management information. “IT has a critical role to play in this,” said Farrar.
“It’s important that CIOs and CFOs understand this and that CIO talk to chief sustainability officers and the Corporate Social Responsibility department. On their own they have done an awful lot, but now it’s important to be integrated into the enterprise,” said Farrar.
The process involves a number of steps. First, companies need to be able assess where they are: what their carbon emissions are and which part of the business are producing the highest emissions. Second, they need to be able to benchmark that against their peers. Third, they need to act on those findings.