ESG Memoria de Sostenibilidad

Sustainability Report with strategy

At Felidarity we have been helping our customers for a long time to make their Sustainability Reports. Undoubtedly, this type of reporting has become increasingly important over time. Even for some companies it is nowadays a legal obligation.

So today we tell you how to make a sustainability report and the strategic approach it must have in order to contribute a value that goes beyond the report itself.

We know that there are still many companies that, despite devoting a lot of resources to this type of report, continue to work from a "use and throw away" perspective. In other words, once the Sustainability Report has been drafted, it is communicated internally and externally and the day after making this effort, it is put in a drawer and is not used to add value to the management and improvement in terms of sustainability.

To prevent this from happening, the first thing to understand is that the strategic value of the reports is directly proportional to the quality of the process of preparing this type of document. Here are the steps to take to create a Sustainability Report that helps and adds value to the management and the proposal of your company.  

The 13 steps needed to make a good Sustainability Report.

  1. Define your framework of ethical commitments.
    • Identify the ethical values that will be integrated into the code of ethics and of conduct is fundamental to generating a sustainable culture and governance.
  2. Write the right policies
    • Translating these ethical commitments into a sustainability policy is a fundamental step towards integrating ethical culture and governance into the company's day-to-day operations.
  3. Analyze your sustainability context
    • Knowing what sustainability-related issues are on the table, in the market and social context of the company, is necessary to understand which aspects should be analyzed a priori.
  4. Define your stakeholder map
    • Sustainability implies an implicit management approach based on stakeholders. For this reason, it is essential to carry out a Map of Stakeholdersto help you identify and segment your stakeholders of interest. And, once identified, it is necessary to perform a Matrix of Stakeholdersto facilitate the prioritization of these stakeholders.
  5. Dialogue with your stakeholders
    • The previous point will help you define the dialogue mechanisms that you will use with each of your stakeholders and thus be able to know what their legitimate expectations are.
  6. Performs Materiality Analysis
    • With the Sustainability Context and the Matrix of Stakeholdersasked your stakeholders on the relevance they give to the different issues identified. This step is key, for example, to make a report following the standard GRI (Global Reporting Initiative). In this matter, it is necessary to take into account the new proposal from Europe, which indicates that companies should make a Dual Materiality Analysis. Whether the analysis we carry out is simple or twofold, this step helps us to identify the key issues on which the company should report, but it is an identification that involves not only the company, but also its stakeholders.
  7. Involves all areas of the company
    • Once these relevant issues have been identified, it is crucial to carry out a process that helps to involve all areas of the company, as all areas will have to contribute to a good Sustainability Report.
  8. Identifies indicators
    • With the relevant issues identified and the areas involved, it is time to define the indicators we will use to report in our Annual Report. For this search for indicators GRI is of great help, as it has a wide range of standards that propose specific indicators for reporting on a multitude of issues. But the world of GRI reporting does not end there, because there are other international standards that also provide indicators of interestThe company itself can even construct its own indicators. Here again, it is important to note that the European Commission, in its recent publication of the Sustainability Reporting Directive, known as the developing European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS).
  9. Search for data on the indicators
    • Undoubtedly, this search for data that will allow reporting with the chosen indicators is one of the most complex tasks at times. To overcome this complexity, it is very important to have involved all areas of the company, but also to have management systems advanced systems that make it possible to collect management data.   
  10. Write the report
    • It may seem a minor step, but on many occasions I have had to analyze Sustainability Reports and, although they were good in terms of content, their wording could have been much improved. Basically, it is like having a good story to tell, but not leaving the task of writing the novel to a good writer. Probably, if García Márquez, Vargas Llosa, etc., were not good writers, their stories would not have become successful novels.
  11. Model memory
    • Something similar to the above happens with the layout of the reports. Once again, fantastic reports with key content become unreadable documents just because the company has not entrusted their layout to professionals.
  12. Identify the key messages you have incorporated
    • Although Sustainability Reports are a very important document to account for the company's progress in this area, in general, they do not end up being best sellers since the reality is that few people read them. That is why it is very important to read the Reports from a communication perspective.identifying which are the key messages that we want to transmit and that really help us to position the company. Have a good memory is always essential, since gives credibility to what you are communicating, but, I am sorry, it is not a document designed to be communicated just like that. By the way, neither is the Financial Report of any company.
  13. Define a segmented communication strategy for your different stakeholders of the stakeholder map.
    • With those key messages identified, then it is time to segmenting communicationThe following are the main reasons for the stakeholders identified as a priority in the Matrix of the Stakeholders of the company. I am not discovering anything if I say that the messages, channels, tone, etc., have to be different depending on who you want to communicate to.

Seeing all these steps that we propose from Felidarity to carry out a good Sustainability Report, we believe that it is easy to see that Sustainability Reports can be more than a "mere formality" document, as they help to identify key aspects and market trendsto have a clear map of stakeholdersto know better what these stakeholders expectto have management indicators to monitor and evaluate the company's progress and, lastly, to help launch the company's clear messages and credible in a segmented manner to our different stakeholders.