For your environmental report to be credible and useful, it must follow certain principles.
Transparency through environmental reporting
It must be absolutely clear what data is being reported, and how and why it is collected. For example:
- Does the figure for carbon emissions also include those attributable to energy use, travel, waste disposal and supply chains?
- Where is the data collected from?
- How, and how often, is it collected?
- Exactly what parts of your business does it apply to?
- Does it include suppliers, contractors, freelancers, franchisees and sub-contractors?
- On what basis do you convert, for example, electricity consumption to tonnes of carbon?
Accountability through environmental reporting
You should also think about who you're accountable to in terms of the environmental report. You may want to consider:
- the extent of stakeholder engagement
- feedback from stakeholders
- tailoring your report to the needs of your stakeholders
- incorporating a third party assurance statement
Credibility through environmental reporting
An environmental report is most valuable when it is an integral part of an environmental management system. This demonstrates to stakeholders that the environmental report is not just for show, but clearly acknowledges and addresses society's growing awareness and concern for sustainable development.