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Excellence in sustainability and climate change reporting

A review of leading UK companies

A review of leading UK companies

2021 marks the 13th year that PwC has been reviewing sustainability reporting across the FTSE 350, public interest entities (PIEs), and inbound companies, as part of our Building Public Trust Awards. We have also conducted a standalone review of companies' climate change reporting, reflecting the growing importance of the Task-force on Climate related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as uptake of its recommendations among companies continues to grow ahead of mandatory disclosure requirements in 2022.

Following last year’s disruption, we have returned to holding our Building Public Trust Awards ceremony. It was held in October 2021 and at this year’s ceremony we were pleased to award our inaugural Climate Change Reporting Award. Given the success of our best practice reporting workshops, we have continued to hold these events for companies to disclose the results of our tried and tested review process.

In completing this year’s reviews, we looked at the sustainability and climate change reporting of over 450 organisations. Our in-depth approach and our long history of these reviews give us insight into what a great report looks like, and how innovation in such reporting is developing.

Sustainability reporting tips

Each year we publish our sustainability reporting tips, which you can download in full below. These tips highlight leading practice in sustainability reporting and help make companies' reporting more effective. In the private 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.

This year’s report of leading practice examples includes three additional chapters. Two spotlight on Covid-19 and Net Zero – our key findings, reporting trends and a range of some good practice examples; and a further chapter highlighting some examples of organisations reporting on their investments in upskilling their workforce - something that will be critical to any efforts towards Building Back Better in a post-Covid world.

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.

Purpose

Communicate a clear and succinct purpose that explains your organisation’s raison d’être beyond creating a financial return for shareholders.

Strategy

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

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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.

Impacts

Provide a clear explanation and quantification of the social, environmental and economic impacts of your business.

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.

Modern slavery

Disclose your slavery and human trafficking statement in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

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Climate change reporting tips

This year we have again published our climate change reporting tips, which you can download in full below. This review highlights leading practice in climate change reporting and helps make company reporting more effective. In the private sector, the organisations following the tips in this review are setting a lead for others to follow. In line with the TCFD, and the newly-published 2021 Status Report, we have divided the review into the following 4 categories of ‘governance,’ ‘strategy,’ ‘risk management’ and ‘metrics and targets.’ In each section we have provided an analysis of the quality of the reporting, tips for how to make your reporting more effective, and illustrated examples of best practice.

Download

Excellence in sustainability reporting: A review of leading UK companies

Download the report

Excellence in climate change reporting: A review of leading UK companies

Download the report

Contact us

Alan McGill

Alan McGill

Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7711 915663

Julia Simmons

Julia Simmons

Marketing Executive, Client Relationship Programmes, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7702 698860

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