Sustainability reporting focuses on the challenges that most affect business performance and matter most to key stakeholders. From understanding consumption and cost of inefficiencies and anomalies, clear reporting is mission critical to any organization’s ability to meet sustainability goals.
But sustainability reports are only as impactful as the quality of the data that is being used. If the data driving your reports is incomplete or inaccurate, you could be compromising the nature of your assessments. Just like the quality of soil is important for the growth of a tree, the quality of your data is just as important for growing your sustainability programs.
Reporting the full spectrum of data you’re receiving is important for creating accurate results, and by leaving gaps in data or by missing key data points, you could be creating problems in both the short and long term.
In 2016, for example, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) published a report alleging it found many Japanese companies were either “systematically misreporting compliance” under Japan’s Corporate Governance Code or had a “fundamental lack of understanding as to what constitutes meaningful sustainability reporting and stakeholder engagement.”
Japan introduced a Corporate Governance Code intended to increase transparency and oversight related to ESG performance back in 2015. To evaluate the implementation, RAN reviewed the Code reports of 10 major Japanese companies with known links to tropical deforestation and associated risks through their supply chains — only to find that none of the companies were sufficiently disclosing their risks.
The full report from RAN exposed lack of progress in how companies were addressing ESG issues. And while companies were reporting on ESG measures, their reports all varied in quality. While this is a large-scale example of the cost of bad data, any business, regardless of size, could run into major issues with sustainability reporting due to poor quality data. (…)
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