THE SUSTAINABILITY report is dead. Long live the sustainability factsheet, or interactive website or anything but a dull 40-page document that very few people will read.
Sustainability reporting has come on leaps and bounds in the past 10 to 20 years, with some of the data now featuring alongside the traditional financial reports and companies reporting on carbon, water, biodiversity and community-level impacts of their businesses.
But, have businesses lost sight of who the reports are for and what they are trying to achieve?
These questions were raised at last weeks Footprint Forum. The event, sponsored by CH&Co at Butchers Hall in London, delved into the world of sustainability reporting.
With mandatory carbon reporting on the horizon for some larger companies and many others grappling with what they should or could report on, the debate is timely. Small businesses, without the big bucks of the Nestlés, Coca Colas and Accor Groups, want to know what they should be doing? Others want to know how can a report change their business model and whether it is a useful tool for green marketing? And, most importantly, what is the target audience?
All these questions and more were covered in a lively debate and expert presentations from the likes of Tom Beagant, an advisor in PricewaterhouseCoopers sustainability and climate change team, Coca-Cola Enterprises associate director for corporate responsibility and sustainability communications Lucinda Hensman and Rebecca Hawkins, a research and consultancy fellow to the School of Hospitality at Oxford Brookes University.
In foodservice, as a whole, weve not been very good at using sustainability reporting to drive change, claimed Hawkins. Yes, its difficult given the segregated supply chains, but being difficult is not an excuse for not doing it. These reports look at the value chain and the risks of not taking action. They are not just data dumps.
So, who is doing it well and who are the pioneers of sustainability reporting? And what might the sustainability report of the future look like? Januarys issue of Foodservice Footprint will reveal all in an exclusive report and in two pages rather than 40.