5 Steps to Get Started With Sustainability Reporting

Ross Pounds
3 min read

A strong sustainability reporting program drives positive outcomes for an organization, and will soon be a necessity for many companies. Here are five steps to set your organization well on the path to a comprehensive sustainability program, fast. 

1. Start With Your Own Operations and Impacts, Focusing on Utility and Fuel Use 

Climate impacts associated with your utility and fuel use are typically the basic activities that every company — regardless of industry or geography — should report on. By collecting data on these activities, you’ll be reporting for scope 1 (gas fuel), scope 2 (electricity) and scope 3 (water and waste) — which gets you off to a fast start.

As you build your program, you can determine other important metrics that are specific to your sector. But, when you’re starting off, utility and fuel information such as gas, electricity and water is a great entry point. Starting with your own operations is usually quickest and easiest, and where data is most readily available.  

2. Map and Collect the Raw Data 

Once you’ve determined what to measure and where to measure it, now you can collect the raw data you already have. Start by asking your facilities or accounts receivable departments. Data would typically come from utility and fuel invoices at building or site level, or alternatively from building management and metering systems.

Your facilities department might have this data ready to go for you. Otherwise, accounts receivable can help get the data from the facilities’ companies, if it’s outsourced, and set up a process to collect it moving forward. This exercise gives you a baseline to measure yourself against, and it sets you up for success moving forward. 

3. Generate Insights and Report 

Once you’ve collected the data of your activities, you may wish to then determine what this means in terms of environmental and climate impacts. To do this, you would need to convert the various energy consumption into its equivalent climate impacts by identifying and applying the right emission factors.   

This will help to better understand your operations and where you have the biggest impacts as well as how you are performing over time. You’ll also need to determine how you want to report on this data to stakeholders. To do this, ask yourself what is driving your company’s need to report, identify who is requesting disclosures from you, and determine what stakeholders want to see in your report. 

4. Expand Your Activities to Stakeholders  

Now that you’ve gotten a handle on how to report on the core operational activities, (energy, electric, fuel and water), you can start building a plan to collect your more industry specific and indirect emissions, as well as more data points from your supply chains, employees, products and customers.  

5. Ask for Help 

Diligent has been working with companies at the board level for over two decades. We have experience in handling the world’s most critical data — and we can help you handle your sustainability data with an auditable ESG platform that scales with you. Our team of subject matter experts are willing and able to help as you move through your ESG journey. We also feature a unique Climate Certification course to help you manage climate initiatives at your organization, as well as climate-related thought leadership, webinars and more.  

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Ross Pounds
Ross Pounds is a Content Marketing Manager at Diligent. Based in the UK and a graduate of the University of Warwick, he has worked as a journalist and across a variety of industries in both corporate and early stage environments, and specializes in long-form content and broader content strategy. Ross has'a particular interest in ESG and pre-IPO companies.