Integrated reporting capabilities for improved environmental performance

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Courtesy of Vital Efficienci Ltd.

An organization real-time dashboards and integrated sustainability reporting capabilities provide organizations with a means of perpetual monitoring and reporting.

Real-time dashboards and integrated sustainability reporting capabilities provide organizations with a means of perpetual monitoring and reporting.As world leaders quibble over details of international climate deals, carbon emissions ascend unabated and the recession looms in the horizon, achieving true global sustainability seem increasingly challenging.A number of sustainability reporting frameworks have emerged, inviting organizations around the world to disclose information on their environmental, social and economic performance. 

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), The Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and the Ceres and Tellus Institute Facility Reporting Project (FRP) are among the organizations that have developed voluntary reporting frameworks. Furthermore, crowding the landscape of reporting bodies is the recently announced International Integrated Reported Committee (IIRC), a child of GRI and A4S and would-be reporting panacea.However, one of the remaining questions is whether sustainability reporting initiatives actually improve the environmental performance of participating organizations, or simply improving the quality of their reports. Moreover, whether participating organizations actually achieve environmentally and socially responsible objectives and whether or not they can prove it.Sustainability reporting initiatives attempt to make the reporting process easy, with plenty of support resources online, but the process of compiling data and generating reports is only as seamless as an organization's approach to data collection and management. 
Further, organizations are only required to describe their procedures and practices. Yet, there is no requirement calling for proof sustainable practices implemented.Disclosure on economic, environmental, and social performance will achieve widespread success when the sustainability reporting process is smooth, efficient and painlessHowever, there is a golden mean that is arguably more passive, less resource-intensive, and completely sustainable. Businesses that implement a streamlined, electronic EMS featuring configurable sustainability reporting capabilities and real-time dashboards stand to benefit from two critical advantages.Firstly, if all sustainability metrics are monitored and inputted across all business units on an ongoing basis and rolled up across administrative levels, much of the time spent measuring, collecting and analyzing data and generating reports that comply with reporting models will be eliminated.Secondly, with real-time dashboards indicating the status of sustainability KPIs (carbon emissions, for example), an organization is able to monitor the pulse of its sustainability performance and estimate the impact of new initiatives.In essence, instead of measuring and reporting on sustainability performance on an annual basis, an organization real-time dashboards and integrated reporting capabilities provide a means of perpetual monitoring and reporting.The vision of making disclosure on economic, environmental, and social performance as commonplace as financial reporting - and as relevant to organizational success - will only achieve widespread success if the sustainability reporting process is smooth, efficient and painless.

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