Sustainability Roundtable Recap:
Reporting with Intention
With ever-changing expectations and evolving standards in the ESG world, the time for discussion is now. That’s why, in December of 2022, we hosted a sustainability breakfast roundtable at our studio in Toronto. This roundtable brought together an intimate group of executives and subject matter experts from sectors ranging from real estate and resources to financial services and consumer goods to share knowledge and perspectives about how to ensure we are not only meeting expectations but are prepared to push boundaries – no matter the industry.
Once everyone took their seats, an animated discussion began, focusing mainly on how companies can tackle new complexities and capture opportunities in corporate reporting. This exchange also featured expert insights from two of our clients: Prabh Banga (Aecon) and Sabreen Salman (Export Development Canada).
Several pain points were discussed, including greenwashing (and greenhushing), materiality, integration, executive and Board engagement, data gathering, goal setting, and meeting audience needs with a toolbox that extends well beyond the initial PDF report. Topics ranged from climate and governance to people and social impact, including one interesting insight that organizations may wish to add the letters “B” and “R” to integrate belonging and reconciliation into their DE&I strategy and reporting.
When discussing the evolution of frameworks and standards, the group deemed the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) essential, as many organizations continue to align with the Universal Standards and see value in their application. SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) was also a hot topic, as it is becoming increasingly relevant to investor-focused organizations. It is clear, however, that determining which frameworks to align with varies from company to company and that it often isn’t a matter of choosing between them but a matter of how to apply them – in many cases, organizations have applied at least a bit of both the GRI and SASB, while also responding to the TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) recommendations.
We also discussed how companies can achieve their reporting goals by better understanding their audiences and how those audiences prefer to be informed (or engaged). This includes viewing a sustainability or integrated report as a series of assets – themes, stories, illustrations, testimonials and data – that not only meet the needs of the Street but also diversify an organization’s internal and external communications toolbox.
Having received fantastic feedback from participants in this sustainability roundtable, we hope to host more roundtable discussions in 2023 on a wide variety of corporate communications themes. From sustainability to branding, and from corporate reporting to digital strategy, now is the time for industry professionals and thought leaders to come together to discuss new challenges and discover how we can continue to do great work with a sense of belonging and an eye toward impact.
Have a topic you’d like to discuss with a group of your peers? Send us an email today. We look forward to doing more important – and great – work together in 2023.
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