Making environmental performance commitments – whether it be to achieve carbon neutrality by a certain date, or otherwise minimise impact on the environment – is in vogue for many businesses. The rising relevance of ESG, and interest in sustainability, has introduced tangible financial incentives for companies to improve environmental performance.
Yet many firms and institutions lack the systems to collect, manage, and report on environmental data to achieve these goals. The building blocks of successful environmental performance improvement are scarce across many sectors, which undermines the legitimacy of environmental pledges.
One of the toughest challenges facing any business looking to improve environmental performance is efficient collection of data. Businesses may have some idea of the scale of Scope 1 or 2 emissions, but often the systems & infrastructure needed to accurately assess Scope 3 emissions are lacking.
BP, for example, cites calculating emissions ‘complexity’ as explaining why they refuse to account for approximately 640 million tonnes of supply chain (Scope 3) emissions. More investment is needed in collection systems, so businesses can understand existing footprints, and how to reduce them.
Problems Include:⊗ Incomplete reporting of carbon emissions, greenhouse gases
⊗ Inability to measure Scope 3 emissions, and supply chain performance
Due in part to disparate data collection systems and methodologies, systems to support accurate environmental reporting are severely lacking. Not only are there a wide variety of reporting frameworks, with different metrics – of which the GRI and GHG Protocol are some of the most popular – reports often aren’t audited, or are audited to varying levels of detail.
If businesses wish to report on improved environmental performance, they must invest in flexible reporting infrastructure, which highlights performance based on hard data analysis. Investing in reporting solutions helps mitigate some the biggest roadblocks to accurate and detailed reporting, including varying global standards and reporting requirements.
Problems Include:⊗ Inconsistent performance metrics
⊗ Inconsistent time frames
⊗ Inconsistent reporting practices
⊗ Varying global standards
Businesses need to support employees responsible for improving environmental performance. In today’s markets, with the increasing relevancy of ESG and impact investing, it is a sound financial decision to support environmental teams. This includes empowering them with suitable systems, to effectively carry out their role, and ensuring they have support from stakeholders. Environmental reporting should be treated the same as financial reporting, if businesses are serious about performance improvement.
⊗ Lack of management & board support
⊗ Lack of necessary management systems
⊗ Lack of budget
The trend towards businesses taking environmental performance seriously is a positive one. It is however undermined by a tendency to promise improvement, without investing in the necessary infrastructure to make this a reality. If businesses wish to advertise environmental performance, they must invest in the framework behind data collection, monitoring, and reporting.
✔ Manage complex reporting requirements
✔ Empower your team with proactive analytics
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environmental performance strategies with Emex.