18 Jun 14

How to improve transparency in your non-financial reporting

180578612_cd10f90dfd_zDemands for transparency in non-financial reporting are high. Your key stakeholders, customers, suppliers and investors are used to a world where they can readily find the information they are looking for and increasingly expect this in your non-financial reports. 

So, what are some of the steps that you can take to improve transparency in your non-financial reporting?

Start with clear vision for your sustainability strategy 

Having a clear vision for your sustainability strategy will give coherence and direction to the work you are doing. Plus, it helps to communicate your intentions to stakeholders.

It is tempting when working through a reporting cycle to use it as an opportunity to talk retrospectively about all the work that has happened in the last year. But, actually, it is also a chance to consider the opportunities that are arising in your business and review how these will support your sustainability strategy in the year ahead. Use it as a time to review your sustainability strategy, questioning whether it is still the right approach for your organisation. 

Set and communicate your goals 

Goals will move you forward.  While your strategy will provide you with the approach that you want to take, your goals will give you the primary outcomes that you want to achieve and the timeframe to achieve these in.

After you have set these goals, share them with the relevant stakeholders. That way it is easy for people to grasp what you want to achieve and help you to direct engagement both internally and externally to the business.

Measuring against your goals

Once your goals are set, you have to decide how you are going to measure against that. How do you get the information you need to be transparent about your progress? How do you communicate this with your stakeholders?

The specifics of how you measure and what you measure will depend on the goals you are trying to achieve. But, what is important here, is taking this information and communicating it clearly to your stakeholders.

It’s all about having the right data

If you’re involved in non-financial reporting, data is arguably at the heart of it all. Many organisations are faced with a lot of data and this is only going to increase. If your data isn’t organised properly or you aren’t able to effectively analyse the data you are collecting, then it is going to be a struggle for you to communicate how you measure up against your goals and strategy. With the right supporting data, it will make it much easier for you to share your stories and successes.

Take the next steps and investigate how our CSR module can help you get the data you need:

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[Image Credit: Whitesusie

Non-Financial Reporting