What is a Sustainability Performance Report? 

In This Article

What is Sustainability Reporting?

Definition: a sustainability report helps organisations report on environmental social governance (ESG) performance within the business.  

Companies, NGOs and Governments will utilise sustainability reporting to show their performance on a range of sustainability topics, from environmental footprint to material use. Sustainability performance reporting is the primary resource organisations will use to communicate any opportunities or risks to stakeholders.  

The Six Key Steps for Sustainability Reporting?

Step 1: Identify material sustainability issues  

Identifying material sustainability issues involves a structured process of deciding which environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are most relevant to your organisation and its stakeholders. Assess factors such as stakeholder expectations, regulatory requirements, and the organisation’s impact on society and the environment. This first step in the process will help you as an organisation prioritise which sustainability issues to focus on in reporting and decision-making, ensuring that the focus is directed effectively to the most significant impacts and risks.  

Step 2: Define your sustainability goals and metrics  

Once you’ve identified material sustainability issues, it’s time to define clear and measurable sustainability benchmarks and goals that are aligned with your organisation’s mission, values and stakeholder expectations. Define key performance indicators that will state specific goals for environmental, social and governance performance.  

When defining your goals, make sure the metrics allow you to track progress. Choose quantitative and qualitative indicators that will provide a range of insights into your organisation’s performance. For example, if your goal is to reduce carbon emissions, define a KPI of a percentage reduction in emissions compared to a baseline year.  

You will also need set sustainability benchmarks that are realistic and achievable within the timeframe chosen. Break down those larger goals into smaller, more manageable targets that can be accomplished over a period. Ensure that the sustainability benchmarks are aligned and relevant to your organisation as a whole and set clear timeframes, short-term, medium-term, and long-term targets, to track progress over time. 

Step 3: Gather and analyse data  

Gathering relevant data to measure your organisation’s performance against sustainability goals involves accumulating information on a range of factors such as energy consumption, community engagement and water usage. Utilise appropriate tools and programmes to collect and analyse the data, ensuring its accuracy and reliability. This may include audits or reporting software. By gathering this data, organisations can track progress, identify the areas for improvement, and demonstrate the overall aim to sustainability.  

Step 4: Tailor the reporting framework  

Step 4 in sustainability reporting involves tailors the reporting framework to the organisation’s specific priorities. This starts with an assessment of the organisation’s characteristics, objectives and stakeholder expectations, looking at factors such as the industry sector or geographic location. Once potential frameworks have been identified, have thorough research of their framework to understand the requirements and reporting guidelines. Consider how each framework will address your sustainability benchmarks and goals and look out for the frameworks that will provide the top guidance.  

Once a reporting framework has been chosen, this is where you adapt it to suit your organisation’s needs by customising the reporting indicators and metrics. Tailoring the framework may involve aligning reporting criteria with industry standards or adding additional metrics to meet specific stakeholder concerns. It’s in this step that you tailor the framework to your organisation’s needs and priorities.  

Step 5: Engage with stakeholders  

Engaging with stakeholders is essential for understanding their expectations, concerns, and priorities regarding sustainability. Once you have identified both internal and external stakeholders, communicate with them either online or in person through surveys, focus groups or consultations to gather valuable insights on their priorities regarding sustainability.  

By actively engaging with stakeholders, you can gain the perspectives and interests of all needed for example, employees may prioritise issues such as career development and workplace safety whereas, investors may focus on financial performance and risk management.  

Step 6: Write the sustainability report  

Compiling your organisation’s sustainability efforts into a report involves structuring it clearly and coherently. Break the report down into sections, environmental performance, social impact and governance, to make it easier for the reader to navigate. Ensure you use a mix of visual data and studies to convey your achievements and challenges transparently.  

It’s crucial to address your sustainability goals, progress and areas that still need improvement. Use a reporting standard to adhere to so you can ensure your report is credible. This will not only showcase the commitment to sustainability but also engages stakeholders in the ESG performance.  


How should Sustainability be Measured and Reported?

Measuring and reporting sustainability involves assessing a wide range of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors that will impact an organisation’s operations and stakeholders. Here’s how to effectively measure and report sustainability: 

Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)  

Key performance indicators can cover a range of factors such as carbon emissions, energy and water usage, waste generation, corporate governance to community engagement. Identify the key metrics that will align with your organisation’s sustainability benchmarks and issues.  

Quantitative and Qualitative Data Collection 

Collect both quantitative data and qualitative data using a variety of sources from internal records, stakeholder surveys and industry benchmarks.  


Sustainability benchmarks help identify areas for improvement and set targets for performance so have a comparison at industry peers and relevant standards when measuring your own sustainability performance.  

Stakeholder Engagement 

Involving internal and external stakeholders in the process of choosing KPIs and the reporting process is crucial to ensure they are relevant to the expectations and concerns of sustainability.  

Third-Party Verification 

Third-party verification or assurance of your sustainability reporting enhances the credibility and reliability of the organisation’s sustainability disclosures.  

Continuous Improvement 

It’s imperative to regularly review and update your sustainability reporting practices reflecting the changes in your organisation and stakeholder expectations. Use the feedback and performance data to identify those opportunities for improvement and progress towards sustainability goals.  

By following these key practices, organisations can effectively measure their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. 

What is the Difference between ESG and Sustainability Reporting?

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) reporting and sustainability reporting are closely related but have a few differences in terms of focus.  

ESG Reporting 

  • Specifically focuses on communicating environmental, social, and governance factors that are relevant to the organisation and its stakeholders.  
  • Emphasises the inclusion of non-financial factors into investment decision-making, for example assessing risks and opportunities related to sustainability issues.  
  • The main aim of ESG reporting is to provide stakeholders with information about how the organisation manages its environmental impact, social responsibility, and corporate governance practices.  


Sustainability Reporting 

  • Sustainability reporting includes a broader range of factors than environmental, social, and governance.  
  • It includes topics such as community engagement, supply chain management and stakeholder relationships.  
  • Sustainability reporting addresses a wider range of stakeholders, including employees, customer, suppliers and communities.  


What is the main goal of sustainability reporting?  

The main goal of sustainability performance reporting is to provide transparent and accountable actions from the organisation’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. This form of reporting allows organisations to communicate their sustainability efforts and impacts to internal and external stakeholders.  

Why is measuring sustainability performance important?  

Measuring sustainability performance is crucial as it enables organisations to identify areas for improvement and demonstrate accountability to stakeholders. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) that are related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, organisations can manage risks and opportunities. Ultimately, measuring sustainability performance is essential for organisations to effectively manage their impact on the planet, society and economy to ensure long-term success.  

What are the benefits of sustainability reporting? 

Sustainability performance reporting offers a range of benefits, including enhanced transparency, stakeholder engagement and competitor advantages. By disclosing information on your organisation’s ESG performance, you can identify areas for improvement and demonstrate your commitment to sustainability practices. 

How often should companies conduct sustainability reporting? 

The frequency of sustainability reporting is dependent on factors such as organisational goals and regulatory requirements. However, many companies typically do sustainability reporting annually. Annual reporting allows organisations to track progress, set targets and communicate performance updates to stakeholders on a regular basis.  

How does sustainability reporting impact investor decision-making? 

Sustainability performance reporting significantly influences investor decision-making by providing insights into a company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices and performance. Investors use the sustainability report to assess risks related to regulatory compliance and reputation and helps them evaluate long-term value. Organisations with strong sustainability practices are often perceived as more resilient and forward-thinking to navigate future challenges and opportunities, therefore attracting investment.  

The Role of Corporate Travel Management

Corporate Travel Mangement (CTM) experts help businesses get the most from their sustainability practices.  

Firstly, experts are on hand to help companies make the right choices to support your environmental objectives including comprehensive CO2 emissions reporting with tailored recommendations and travel policy developments to help make eco-friendly travel options.  

CTM providers are on hand to deliver effective offsetting programs to help you run a greener business, helping to reduce your environmental impact from business travel.  

Ready to take your corporate travel to the next level? Contact our experts today to find out more.  

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