Thinking of producing a sustainability report?



The task of producing a sustainability report can seem daunting, especially if it’s your first. We see many organisations and people struggling with what to include, getting lost in data instead of providing information, and being weighed down by onerous executive sign offs. This week in Sydney at our ‘best practice sustainability reporting’ course participants had similar questions:

  • How do we make good decisions about what to include?
  • What’s the difference between the different sustainability reporting frameworks?
  • What should I do if my issues don’t fit into existing reporting frameworks?

With many organisations now heading into ‘reporting season’, ACCSR was approached by online news service Carbon + Environment Daily to provide a primer for those wanting to produce a more effective sustainability report. Here’s an excerpt.

‘Preparing an effective sustainability report involves a lot more than just collecting and presenting data, according to Jackie Allender of the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility.

Allender, a senior consultant with the ACCSR, told CE Daily companies firstly need to be clear about why they are reporting. Some do so to keep up with their peers, others because of stakeholder or supply chain pressure or a board directive, she said. Being clear about the reasons “will help you think about the sort of report you might want to put out.”

Allender added that the target audience for a company’s sustainability report is likely to want more than just a summary of performance to date.  They will also want information on corporate strategy and future initiatives, and on how the company is positioning itself in dealing with big-picture issues such as climate change.’

See the full article with tips on more effective reporting at:  C + E Daily

Shared Value questions answered

Shared Value is a concept that is fast gaining traction with Australian business due to its ability to frame social problems in the language of business.

As ACCSR prepares to welcome our South African partner, Jonathan Hanks, on his third Australian visit under our auspices, we asked him some FAQs about Shared Value. Jonathan is the founder of Incite Sustainability, the first African affiliate of the Shared Value Initiative.

ACCSR’s Managing Director Dr Leeora Black and Incite Sustainability’s Founding Director Jonathan Hanks at Incite’s Cape Town office in 2012.

ACCSR’s Managing Director Dr Leeora Black and Incite Sustainability’s Founding Director Jonathan Hanks at Incite’s Cape Town office in 2012. 

Continue reading

Are you a CSR Innovator?

Himesha-JayasingheACCSR’s seventh Annual Review State of CSR in Australia and New Zealand examined the stages of CSR development in organisations and the role of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO).

There are three stages of CSR development:

  • Initiators: Companies at earlier stages of CSR development, focused on compliance and managing negative environmental impacts.
  • Integrators: Those who are further along the journey, focused on achieving efficiencies and establishing internal systems and processes for CSR
  • Innovators: Organisations that are mature in CSR, focused on creating value through CSR for both organisations and their stakeholders.

Participants this year (more than 1,000!) showed striking differences depending on their organisations’ stage of CSR development: more mature organisations have higher CSR management capabilities, a greater ability to use CSR as a driver of innovation, more formalised mechanisms of CSR governance, and different priorities for the year ahead. Continue reading

Back on the development goals merry-go-round

paul hohnen_DSC9163hr

[Originally published on The Innovation Forum] The soon-to-be finalised sustainable development goals have a chance to succeed where its predecessors have failed

At a UN summit scheduled to be held on 25-27 September this year, the 192 UN member states will almost certainly adopt the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the successors to the millennium development goals. Continue reading

It’s time to re-think our approach to materiality, by Soraya Dean


Soraya-DeanMateriality. It’s becoming quite a CSR buzzword. And that’s a good thing, right? Well, that depends. A quick scan of current practices in materiality analysis shows that many organisations are falling into some common traps, which means they are not getting the benefits they could be. That’s why ACCSR is advocating a fresh approach to materiality: a value-chain approach, where the scope is broader, the digging is deeper and the net is cast wider.

Are you really cutting to the chase? Continue reading

Ensuring Your Supply Chain Stays Sustainable, by Darragh Brennan

It’s becoming clear major corporations are recognising what’s good for the environment can also be good for the bottom line. This is why in 2014 we saw a number of international companies such as Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Wilmar International and Mars, all make public commitments to implement a zero-deforestation policy throughout their supply chains.

Corporate sustainability and zero-deforestation policies, when implemented correctly and systematically, lead to improved brand image and build stronger business relationships with other organisations and customers. Continue reading

Using CSR frameworks to boost safety at work

accsr-2443 Leeora Black

Safety at work is a basic social responsibility for any organisation, due to the social and financial burden on society from work-related illness, injury and death. International CSR frameworks and standards provide managers and company directors with the ability to meet and even go beyond safety legislation and boost their company value in the process. Continue reading

Six top tips to build your CSR business case

SMheadshot_1Being an in-house sustainability professional can be a lonely life. You might have ethics, scientific evidence and reason on your side, but trying to win the internal case for budget, favour and priority too often leaves you without friends or allies in the C-suite.

At ACCSR’s C-Lab last year, Lend Lease’s Anita Mitchell described the uphill battle that many in-house sustainability practitioners face and claimed that CSR managers were effectively “dying on the battlefield”. Continue reading

Life cycle thinking and the next industrial revolution – by Paul Hohnen

paul hohnen_DSC9163hr[Originally published on Tobias Webb's The Smarter Business blog]

In a guest post on Tobias Webb’s The Smarter Business blog, Paul Hohnen reflects on the strengths and weaknesses of Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) and makes some recommendations on how the real potential of LCAs might be unlocked.

Continue reading

$2.5tn shortfall for sustainable development in developing countries, by Paul Hohnen

paul hohnen_DSC9163hr[Originally published on The Guardian]

A step change is needed in the amount of private finance available for sustainable development. The bad news is the financial sector is still headed in the wrong direction. Continue reading