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Posted by Niamh Aughney | 23rd January 2024

ESG Reporting Implementation: Walk Before You Run

ESG (Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance) reporting is a major challenge on the agendas of most organisations.

Global pressures are increasing on a daily basis. The recently adopted Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) will subject 50,000 firms in the EU to obligatory disclosure within the next five years.

In June 2023, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) finalised reporting standards for adoption in 2024.

Aside from regulations, businesses face additional pressure from investors, supply networks, and external stakeholders.

It can all seem a little overwhelming.

But that’s no reason to rush. It is critical to learn to walk before you run when implementing good ESG reporting.

ESG reporting might become more of a tick-box exercise rather than giving meaningful value to the organisation if it is rushed.

ESG Reporting does not have an easy remedy – it must be done purposefully and robustly, which can take time.

Furthermore, a large business that is reporting for the first time and must do so across several locations may have logistical challenges with data collection and integrity. If rushed, this can result in inconsistent or incoherent reporting.

Want a tried-and-tested method for getting things started? Continue reading.

Follow our six-step approach.

Review our six stages below before moving forward with implementation and reporting.
Consider the following questions and ensure that you can answer them all:

1. Why does your company require ESG?

2. What is most important to your company and its stakeholders?

3. What ESG data are you currently collecting?

4. What ESG data is missing in your organisation?

5. Who is in charge of collecting both existing and missing data?

6. What is your process for gathering data and converting it into information that is simple to grasp and apply?

If you’re having trouble answering any of the above questions, you might want to download our e-book 6 Steps to getting started with Sustainability ESG Reporting.

Slow and steady wins the race.

It is critical to address the logistics and operations of how you will collect data while doing ESG reporting.

Whether you’re working with a service provider or developing your own internal approach, perfecting things on a smaller scale slowly and spreading success will pay off in the long run.

Make a Gantt Chart as part of the project for one location or site in the business.

Set a deadline for reporting in one location, as well as review dates for how things are doing.

Working through the roll-out in one location with regular reviews allows you to think about:

•  What worked well for our company throughout implementation?

•  What didn’t work on this site for us?

•  What should we do differently in the future?

•  Are there any gaps or problems in the way we collect data that we should address?

• After completing the process at one location, reflecting on performance, and determining best practises for your firm, you can begin implementing reporting on additional sites.

Finally, by the final site, each location will be operating in a manner that is appropriate for the specific micro-culture of that business location. Most significantly, establishing and setting up reporting inside new teams will become a standard activity, making ESG reporting easier as the organisation evolves.

If you only have one location, you may find it useful to begin with one ‘pillar’ of ESG and, as previously stated, test, review, and refine as you go.

Establish a reporting technique.

Without outlining a clear justification for setting targets, organisations risk creating an illogical and inconsistent approach to ESG reporting.

Our best advice? Begin with a materiality assessment to get to the heart of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Once you’ve determined that, develop SMART goals for those material concerns, which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.

You may then establish what data you need to acquire and the appropriate methodology to assist you do so if you have clear, measurable goals and KPIs.

SustainIQ has created procedures for over 150 different reporting categories, simplifying that element of the ESG reporting process for you. 

Schedule a call with us to discuss how we might assist you


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