Tis the Season: For Reporting

sustainability scope ghg graphic

And you thought that “Tis the Season” only applied to holidays, NOT! In talking with many of my sustainability colleagues the first three months of the year they spend their time collecting data to be able to analyze and measure their progress against their goals of achieving a reduction in their carbon footprint. This data may eventually be disclosed and published in an annual ESG/Impact/Sustainability report. They are typically collecting data in regards to energy use, waste/recycling, water, transportation related to business travel or incoming or outgoing shipments, any purchases made to run their business, information about spending with diverse suppliers and perhaps spending and support made within their communities, the social piece of sustainability. No matter what industry there is reporting to do. Higher Education may be collecting to report to AASHE STARS program, healthcare may be collecting to report to Practice Green Health, publicly held businesses may be preparing themselves for the future SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) ruling about having to report their climate related impacts. Some may be reporting due to competitive pressures or customer requests. Others may be collecting this data because they realize that you can’t manage what you don’t measure and there is a benefit, often financial, to be good stewards of our resources. 

We have been collecting data related to our building operations and transportation (fleet of delivery trucks) for many years. We have set some targets over the years to improve but no science really applied to setting those targets. In two weeks we are due to submit our second annual Scope 1 and Scope 2 Green House Gas report to one of our customers. If you pay attention to the trends that are happening, these types of requests are becoming more common, we are part of that customer’s Scope 3 GHG emissions. Each year the request for the amount and level of reporting increases until we are setting some science-based targets to establish a clear path to reduction in our GHG. (to learn more about Scope 1, 2 & 3 GHG and science-based targets) If you are new to these topics, there are so many great resources to help you to understand contained with in the links above.

Sustainability Reports (and interchangeable with what some may call ESG or Impact reports today) are an excellent way that organizations and businesses can publicly communicate their environmental risks, opportunities and practices to their stakeholders. Stakeholders meaning investors, employees, customers, suppliers, and their greater community. This also will help make informed decisions. 

Next up:  We will talk about the importance of standards and dig a little into the GRI standard (https://www.globalreporting.org/) which is the most widely recognized standard for sustainability reporting. 

Previous blog post about EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager, a free tool to help collect data on energy, waste/recycling and water use.