Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sustainability Reporting: New GRI G4 Guidelines, SASB, AECOM's Engagement Efforts (Video replay of 3BL Media Webinar)

Here is a recap of a 3BL Media webinar on sustainability reporting. This video features the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and AECOM. It includes a discussion of the new G4 guidelines, an exam for sustainability accounting certification and tricks of the trade for corporate communicators.

Click here to read about some of the benefits of sustainability reporting.

G4 Guidelines

The deadline to adhere to the most current G4 guidelines is January 1 2016. These new reporting guidelines apply to all corporations that use GRI’s G3 or G31 guidelines.

“The first time reporters have very limited information to report on. But by doing stakeholder engagement exercises, they gain insights into what expectations are...The main game for sustainability reporting is not to have a report, but to actually have a report that makes sense for the stakeholders.”

Sustainability Accounting certification

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) discusses sustainability accounting certification. “Anyone who takes and passes the credential exam is able to demonstrate that they can identify, quantify and communicate the financial impacts of sustainability,” said Nicolai Lundy, manager of education for SASB, adding that the FSA designation is expected to be helpful for the career development of corporate communications pros.

SASB, launched in 2012, has established sustainability accounting standards for about 50 industries that comprise 80 percent of the market capitalization of U.S.-based publicly traded companies, Lundy said.

SASB has proposed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that companies be required to communicate their sustainability information as part of the management discussion and analysis (MD&A) section of the Form 10k currently being filed with the regulator. The SEC has yet to rule on the request.

No company is reporting in this fashion as of today, a fact Lundy attributes to the lengthy legal and regulatory review corporations must undertake before supplementing financial reporting with sustainability data.

SASB announced the inaugural “Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting” accreditation test in May.

AECOM stresses engagement around sustainability

Gathering information on sustainability across the 150 countries where AECOM operates takes place all year long. Even producing the annual sustainability report takes four months.

Given the massive time and resource commitment, the communications team at AECOM goes to great lengths to make sure the many success stories surrounding sustainability are shared through multiple channels, and over an extended period, with the company’s 100,000 employees.

“The importance of keeping stakeholders engaged is at an all time high, which is why breaking your sustainability report into digestible pieces on a continuous basis is crucial,” said Chinyere Ojini, a communications specialist with the Los Angeles-based infrastructure and support services firm.

Care was taken to provide AECOM managers with talking points and concrete steps on how to share the sustainability focus across all geographies, Ojini said.

“We are really encouraging employees to promote the report among their clients as well as among their teams,” she said.

“All the content is there. It’s the one place. This really allows us to break down the content into bite sized pieces for our stakeholders,” she said, adding that AECOM also used new 3BL templates emphasizing images over text.

Comprehensive Summary of Sustainability Reporting Guidance
The Future of Integrated Sustainability Reporting
Sustainability Reporting to Minimize Negative Impacts and Increase Positive Benefits
Sustainability Reporting: Video of Company efforts to Engage New GRI G4 Guidelines
Webinar - Sustainability Reporting to GRI G4: Time to Make The Switch
GRI Launches G4 Online Sustainability Reporting Tool
GRI G4 and Other Sustainability Reporting Guidelines Briefing
Webinar - Why GRI G4 Will Trigger New Directions In Sustainability Reporting
The GRI Sustainability Reporting
GRI Sustainability Reporting on Anti-Corruption and GHGs
GRI & Sustainability Reporting Framework in Business School
GRI Reporting Tool is Good for Business
G3 Guidelines and GRI Sustainability Reporting

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