More and more listed companies are reporting their progress on advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) - we’ve seen it in Australia with the number of companies in the ASX200 reporting on the SDGs up ~55% in 2019. This number will continue to rise. If you are not currently reporting, you will be soon.
So how do you do it? Well it isn’t easy with 17 goals, over 150 targets and hundreds more indicators touching many different facets of your business. Then overlay a complex web of other standards and guidelines for reporting on sustainability.
We have some good news: it just got a little easier with GRI releasing an updated resource to assist companies with their reporting requirements by linking the SDGs and the GRI standards. You can find this here.
And there are other tools which are also designed to help the private sector measure and advance the SDGs, including Business Reporting on the SDGs (a collaboration with the UN Global Compact) and Driving Corporate Action Towards Accomplishing the SDGs (a partnership between GRI and Enel).
NO TIME TO WASTE
There is, however, more to come and on one of our favourite topics – WASTE, using principles from another of our favourite topics – the CIRCULAR ECONOMY. GRI will be releasing a new version of its Waste Standard which is focused on enabling organisations to embrace circularity by fully understanding and disclosing all waste-related impacts – you can expect this this month (May).
Businesses have direct control over the production of their goods and can play a major role in reducing waste generation. Measures include:
- designing waste out at the product stage
- designing products for durability, repair and disassembly to improve their recycling potential at end-of-life
- improving the properties of materials in the product and in the production process to reduce the use of hazardous materials
- introducing responsible sourcing principles
- setting waste management policies in procurement practices
And while they have less control once the product reaches the consumer, they can implement measures to influence more sustainable consumer behaviour by raising resource use awareness and setting up take-back schemes.
Now with GRI revising its standard, companies will have a clearer view on the best way to report their waste management initiatives and outcomes.
And finally, since we are talking about the linkages to the SDGs, ‘waste management’ features explicitly or implicitly in nearly half of the 17 goals. This makes sense, waste rears its head during all stages of the value chain – from production to post production, to distribution and consumer engagement.
So good news, there is a little more clarity on how to report, but you still need to collect the data.
The supply chain is critical for sustainability, we talk about this a lot in our blogs. Some of the world's largest companies are pledging to decarbonize their supply chain and this is an overwhelming task when you have thousands and thousands of suppliers.