High volumes of data make it necessary to use a system which can collate multiple sources of information into one version of the truth. What should a company pay attention to when evaluating a new system?
Read more about CSR – The Sustainability Journey here! This article is contributed by FoundationFootprint.
The Sustainability Journey
In December 2015, 188 of the world’s developed nations signed the COP21 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In 2017, all companies listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange will be required to report on their sustainability. In their Key Trends in the EH&S Implementation Services Market (May 2015) Verdantix estimates that the market for EH&S software will have an estimated 11% compound annual growth rate.
There is an increasing drive towards social and corporate responsibility for companies. To fulfill obligations to their stakeholders, directors and governments, many corporates are now reporting to one of the many global sustainability reporting frameworks. There are many benefits to reporting on your carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.
Identify business efficiencies and cost savings
Market access & export advantage
Satisfy stakeholder and supply chain demand
Improve staff engagement
Build internal capability and institutional knowledge
Gain a moral and reputational advantage
Demonstrate good corporate citizenship
Anticipate and manage risks
But what does this mean in terms of your sustainability journey? Where do you start and how do you know what you need to report? What does the sustainability life cycle look like? Here’s a good general guide.
Each cycle will begin with RECOGNISE – understanding resource dependency across the organisation(s), suppliers and products.
Once the company understands how they use their resource, they need to begin to MANAGE, MEASURE and BENCHMARK resource dependency. Many companies are carrying out this step with enormous Excel spreadsheets, outdated systems with bolt-ons, information kept in employees’ heads, and worst of all, no central repository for the data.
It’s not enough to simply record results. In order to achieve best practice against global frameworks, a company needs to REPORT on its achievements. Use global reporting standards, align with the relevant sustainability initiatives and above all, ensure an independent, external verification.
Once a sound reporting structure is in place, INTEGRATE this into the company’s business practices. Use sustainability metrics to help determine business strategy and product design. Use these same metrics to promote ethical supply chain management and increase employee engagement with community initiatives, all as part of the sustainability reporting.
Use the new information available on environmental costs and resource availability globally to OPTIMISE company operations. Optimisation will lead to greater financial rewards, lower costs and continue to maintain a company’s presence in the global market.
Each of these steps builds to the company becoming a SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS, both in terms of the business model and the brands.
It is not enough to simply go through this cycle once – it is an ongoing, often annual, process. Key to the success of the process in terms of data accuracy and employee time, is utilizing an excellent system.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN SUSTAINABILITY SOFTWARE?
High volumes of data make it necessary to use a system which can collate multiple sources of information into one version of the truth. When evaluating a new system, a company should pay particular attention to:
Ease of use – how long will it take a new user to learn the system?
Ease of access – is it a cloud-based system which can be accessed from multiple devices at different times?
Does it capture the human knowledge and commentary as well as the data?
Does it offer business intelligence reporting?
Does it feed seamlessly into the global reporting frameworks such as GRI G4 or LBG?
Does it follow the GHG Protocol Corporate Standards in its design and information handling?
Does it allow you to upload supplier information in different layouts and formats?
Does it have controls, levels of approval and auditor access which will allow for the proper quarantining and authorisation of data, as well as external verification?
FoundationFootprint have been helping enterprises and public sector organisations account for and manage their human and environmental footprint more effectively since 2007. Their cloud-based workflow software makes reporting and compliance simple, giving you the insights needed to better understand and drive your sustainability goals forward.
From carbon accounting to sustainability reporting and health and safety compliance FoundationFootprint delivers transparency and improves accuracy so you can build a more sustainable business – one step at a time.