It seems the pace of change is forever speeding up in all aspects of life, not least climate change. Companies, just like Governments, have however been typically slow to change course: new policies and targets take months (and sometimes years) to formulate and achieve approval, especially where these are interwoven with commercial strategies. So, how should corporate communications on sustainability react to the ever louder clamour for immediate action, results, and signals of hope? This article explores the need for companies to take urgent action: using scientific evidence to support fast-tracking of new targets to reduce their sustainability impacts in fundamental ways. ‘Whatever it takes’ is easy to say, but hard to live up to.
Over the last 10 years, the sustainability reporting landscape has changed remarkably. Like many aspects of media today, thirst for information and data, the speed of communication and the sheer number of channels available to convey messages and engage has grown almost out of all comprehension. Set in the wider context of global sustainability challenges that fill our news feeds, from plastics to gender equality, climate change to modern slavery, the expectations on companies to make their position clear has never been greater. This article sets out five challenges for companies to overcome in order to create meaningful and impactful sustainability communications.
At Challenge Sustainability, our experience of sustainability report assurance stretches back to the development of the first multi-stakeholder assurance standards, some 20 years ago. Over this time, we have signed off hundreds of sustainability assurance statements, and seen the role assurance plays subtly change as the sustainability profession has matured. Having worked in two types of roles; as assurance provider or on the other side of the fence, supporting reporting and strategy clients through their assurance process, we have a good feel for what works and what doesn’t. This article describes the steps that companies can take to ensure they gain the most value out of the assurance process.
Materiality - identifying and prioritising the issues most prevalent for your business, should be the guiding light for your sustainability strategy. A well designed materiality process also supports sustainability reporting, ensuring you are communicating your response to issues most relevant to your stakeholders. Yet, too many companies miss issues, don’t prioritise correctly, overlook the link with other activities already established in the business and only apply materiality as a sustainability reporting process. This article explores the keys to using the concept of materiality successfully within your sustainability strategy and reporting.
In the time since the SDG’s were announced almost three years ago, they have served a useful role in advancing the way business can engage and communicate sustainability. However, many companies are not yet maximising the opportunity, and are at worst playing lip service by using the goals to showcase ‘business as usual’. The SDGs are helpful as a common and consistent external framework the cuts across governments, wider society and business. But, like any framework the goals need to be considered carefully and not approached as a straightforward ‘tick box’ exercise. In this article, Challenge Sustainability present a series of observations for companies seeking to avoid common pitfalls and make the most of the opportunities the SDG’s offer.
For those companies going through the process of launching a new ‘vision’, ‘framework’, ‘mission’, ‘dashboard’ or other type of ‘strategy’, a number of challenges present themselves. We have distilled down a series of key learnings for any company looking to get maximum value and impact from all the hard work of developing a new strategy.
As the war against plastics remains a hot topic, more and more companies are responding with new commitments to reduce plastic use in a variety of ways, often in favour of paper-based products. Based on our work with the paper products sector over the last 15 years, Challenge Sustainability shares the top five challenges the sector must focus on to build communication messages that maximise the opportunity the war on plastics presents.