Reporting with purpose

Being distinctive, strategic and relevant in your sustainability reporting

This has been the eighth year that PwC has reviewed the sustainability reporting of the public sector, FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, as part of The Building Public Trust in Corporate Reporting Awards.

As public demand for transparency in all types of organisations grows louder, we've extended the scope of our research for the first time to include large private companies and other such organisations that, together, can be considered as Public Interest Entities (PIEs). While most reporting requirements are still focused on publically traded companies and the public sector, increasingly private businesses and other PIEs are now producing reports to a similar level to those of FTSE 100 companies, in a clear demonstration that shareholders are increasingly interested in an organisation’s environmental and social impact. 

In our quest to find the leaders in this area, we’ve looked at the sustainability reporting of over 400 companies and organisations, and reviewed some 150 in detail. This in-depth approach, and our long history of these reviews, gives us insight into what a great sustainability report looks like, and how the state of sustainability reporting is changing. 

Our annual assessment of private and public sector sustainability reports has highlighted the following trends in the state of sustainability reporting this year:
 

 

Sustainability reporting tips

Each year, we publish our sustainability reporting tips, which you can download in full above. These tips highlight leading practice in sustainability reporting and help make companies’ reporting on sustainability more effective. In both the private and the public sector, the organisations following these tips are setting a lead for others to follow. We've categorised the tips under five key questions which your reporting should answer:

Each year, we also publish Sustainability Reporting Tips. These tips highlight leading practice in sustainability reporting and help make companies’ reporting on sustainability more effective. In both the private and the public sector, the organisations following these tips in their sustainability reporting are setting a lead for others to follow.

How does sustainability fit with your organisation’s strategy?

Organisation overview

Provide an overview of your organisation’s key activities and the environment in which you operate.

Strategy

Describe how your sustainability strategy is integrated into your core corporate strategy and demonstrate how it permeates throughout your business.

Financial implications

Illustrate how your sustainability strategy has had and will have an impact on the bottom line.

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How do you consider your priorities?

Materiality

Demonstrate that you have an understanding of the sustainability issues that are most relevant to you and your key stakeholders.

Stakeholder engagement

Explain how you engage with principal stakeholders and how this has impacted your sustainability strategy.

Risks and opportunities

Explain the key strategic risks and opportunities for your organisation that arise from sustainability issues.

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How do you monitor and manage performance?

KPIs and targets

Identify KPIs that are directly relevant to your sustainability strategy and set challenging, but realistic targets that you can review your performance against.

Governance

Provide a clear explanation of the company’s sustainability governance structure and explain how directors and staff are incentivised to deliver on the sustainability strategy.

 

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How do you consider the broader viability of the business?

Value chain

Consider relevant upstream and downstream value chain aspects of your business in order to take account of all environmental, social and economic impacts, both positive and negative.

Future proofing

Disclose that you've considered the future resource constraints that might affect your business e.g. nonfinancial capitals including natural capital and human capital.

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How do you report with clarity and transparency?

Balanced reporting

Present information in a balanced and transparent fashion and explain where and how improvements will be made.

Assurance

Ensure the credibility of your reported content by referencing, for example, independent studies, external benchmarking, expert review panels or external third party assurance.

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Contact us

Alan McGill
Partner
Tel: +44 (0)20 7212 4348
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Gordon Wilson
Senior Manager
Tel: +44 (0)7841 468723
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Jacqui Machin
Senior Associate
Tel: +44 (0)20 7212 2594
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