Serious about Sustainability? You Need Regional Reports

December 12, 2017

 

If you’re serious about sustainability reporting, a single global report is no longer enough. Stakeholders now have access to a vast wealth of information at the click of a button. They expect businesses to have access to the same information before they do.

 

That means leaders must have a more intimate relationship with their global operations than just an annual report audit. Now, it’s critical they produce regional reports. This is especially true is in China, where sustainability reporting is still king.

 

Reporting is China is a governmental requirement for large state-owned enterprises. Because of this, the frequency of reporting has skyrocketed, from only 9 reports produced in 2005 to over 2,000 in 2016. While the same isn’t required of the multinational private sector, the reality of it becoming so isn’t an if but a when. Tightening governmental regulation is already impacting the supplier landscape and causing disarray in global supply chains. Yet, companies with headquarters in the U.S. and Europe continue to put their heads in the sand. You can either get with the program voluntarily now or do so kicking and screaming in the not-too-distant future. Either way, knowing what’s happening in China is no longer a nice to have.

 

Smart operators know this. They’re addressing the uncertain market by creating their own China-specific regional reports. Sometimes these are standalone and others are supplements to a larger global report.

  • Examples of standalone regional reports include General Electric and L’Oreal.

  • Supplements to larger sustainability reports include SABIC and Dow.

Other companies are using their China regional reports to address bottlenecks in the domestic reporting landscape, thus standing out versus the competition. Some of these barriers include: incomplete data and management of information; a lack of disclosure from all parts of a business; and, greenwashing. Tapping into their global resources and knowledge, multinational corporations can add sustainability reporting to their list of market differentiators.

 

Whether you start in China, or elsewhere, regional reports are beneficial to your operations. Beyond positioning yourself as a true global organization, these reports allow for higher-quality monitoring, compliance, and transparency. As we discussed last week, all of this makes your reporting function less of a ticking-boxes exercise and a stronger return on investment for your business.  

Fulcrum’s Exploration series discusses critical issues facing today’s sustainability professionals. The goal of the series is to educate, inform, and generate discussion. If you liked some of these ideas, Fulcrum has plenty more. Set up a complimentary strategy session to dive deep into issues specific to your organization.

 

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