For the first series of blog posts in January, I am going to draw on the fabulous Sustainability Toolkit, developed by the Major Projects Association in Association with PA Consulting, that guide you to some of the best resources currently available to support project professionals embed sustainability and circular economy principles into the delivery of major projects. These cover a range of data and information analysis tools, industry thought leadership and guidance resources.
Each week for the next four weeks, I’ll highlight and share one of the resources in the collection.
The Purpose and Impact of Sustainability Reporting
The first of the tools I’d like to feature is a November 2020 PwC Report: Excellence in Sustainability Reporting which looks at the reporting practices of 450 organizations and offers techniques for organizations to adopt.
Sustainability, along other themes that relate to organizational culture and renewal, such as diversity, is something that you need to reflect in the way you do things, rather than simply an activity that is bolted onto projects as an add on. Demonstrating to your shareholders and the wider public that this is the case means that you’ll need to be able to describe your organization’s activities and,just as importantly, the organization’s purpose (beyond the purely financial aspect of ‘making money’). It also means that you can explain how sustainability is integrated into your strategy and how that permeates into practice.
What I like about this report is that, as the authors work through the fourteen aspects of sustainability reporting, they offer a very concise set of guidelines at three levels, basic, intermediate and advanced along with some first rate visual examples from the organizations in the study. Here, for example, are the three tips they offer when they tackle the issue of governance:
Basic Identify the board member responsible for sustainability issues and outline your sustainability governance structure;
Intermediate Showcase how sustainability governance permeates throughout your business;
Advanced Report on how staff are incentivised (financially & non-financially) to deliver on the sustainability strategy through the company.
Every organization needs to work our sustainability for itself. They should be as capable of doing that as they are in everything else they do around strategy, delivery and management. In that context, the PwC report is a very useful springboard; a source of ideas, examples and benchmarks but not a checklist or a blueprint.