Companies release sustainability information through a range of disclosure vehicles, including stand-alone reports, annual reports, financial filings, websites and blogs, interactive reports and media, and social media. Regardless of the channel for your engagement the standard of your disclosure should be rigorous and credible. Failure to consider the reasonable expectations of stakeholders can threaten a company’s reputation and the success of its business operations.
What is it?
Voluntarily sharing the challenges and successes of your sustainability measures (i.e what you are monitoring and measuring) is not just a way to tell your story; it builds relationships with your key stakeholder community, keeps you relevant, and can help identify new business opportunities. Regularly disclosing significant performance data/targets relating to direct operations, subsidiaries, joint ventures, products and supply chain are becoming mainstream aspects of sustainability reporting.
Growth in social media is challenging companies to balance engagement and dialogue with disclosure and transparency. High performance companies increasingly customize their disclosure based on the concerns and communication preferences of their audience, whilst ensuring a high degree of consistency to demonstrate their commitment towards transparency.
Why is this important to the Board?
Communicating how environmental, social and governance aspects influence intangible asset development, such as customer loyalty, brand value, customer and employee satisfaction is both powerful – and necessary. When published in tandem with the aspects of your actual business performance that have enabled your financial results (productivity levels, investment in R&D, innovation, staff retention) investors become aware that sustainability measures have increased the value of those intangible assets. This now enters the realm of ‘critical’ information for shareholders and investors. It is part of the Board’s accountability role.
What’s in it for you?
Communicating performance against a wider spectrum of sustainability indicators leads to the following benefits:
- Integration of sustainability measures into the Board Charter, Code Of Conduct, Committees Charters, or policy documents by the Board/Directors;
- Developing your standard disclosures profile based on analysis of your strategy, organisational profile, reporting parameters, governance, and performance indicators;
- Identification of issues for discussion by the Board: major public issues key to company products, issues where ESG (Environmental Social Governance) performance makes a direct contribution to financial performance, issues that drive changes in the company cost structure and issues of greatest priority to investors;
- Identify the most appropriate themes and issues to focus on in your messaging, and avoid green washing.
How do we do it?
The Walton Group can help companies customize their disclosure in alignment with their strategy, culture, and priorities in a way that is both credible and meaningful to the audiences involved – stakeholder communities, investors, and regulators.
- Help drafting:
- Statement from the Chairman of the Board, CEO or other Board Committees
- Director Statements
- Investor Communications: performance against targets
- Others stakeholder reports in the context of your culture
- Customised research and white papers
- Stakeholder engagement strategy and frameworks
- Use of GRI sustainability reporting guidelines to communicate value through ESG disclosures