7 March 2023

What are the three core areas of the sustainability report?

Categoria: Linguistic Services

The sustainability report is the key document in which a company reports its impact in three core areas: economic, environmental and social.

Among the standards designed to measure this impact, the best known and most widely used in the world are the GRI Standards (Global Reporting Initiative Standards). These are guidelines developed by the international non-profit GRI body to enable companies and organizations of all sizes, sectors and countries to fully, comprehensively and consistently report on the sustainable impact they generate.

For each area, GRI has identified a series of parameters to monitor, leaving it up to companies to choose those that best suit the characteristics of their businesses. Let us take a more detailed look at the criteria recommended by GRI to assess the three core areas of sustainability.

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Economic standards

The first set of standards suggested for the sustainability report concerns the economic sphere.

The economic area is one of the three pillars of sustainability: without growth in this regard, it is very difficult to pursue activities aimed at protecting the environment or improving social welfare.

According to GRI, measuring the economic sphere means measuring “the impacts of an organisation on the economic conditions of its stakeholders and on economic systems at the local, national and global levels.”

The elements to monitor are therefore as follows:

  • financial performance;
  • market presence;
  • indirect economic impacts;
  • procurement practices;
  • anti-corruption;
  • anti-competitive behaviour;
  • taxes and fees.

The composition of this list shows how the focus has shifted from the quantity of wealth created to its quality, i.e. the way it was produced.

Have the company’s activities triggered side effects on other stakeholders? Have they fuelled misconduct such as corruption or unfair competition?

These and related questions must be answered to ensure the transparency of a company’s actions; after all, this is the main reason for drawing up a sustainability report.

Environmental standards

In addition to financial results, companies are also required to report on their impact in the environmental sphere.

Although long overlooked, the environmental dimension of sustainability is now widely recognised as an essential component of sustainable development, which is why it must be measured and monitored.

According to the GRI Standards, companies must examine their impact “on living and non-living natural systems, including soil, air, water and ecosystems” when preparing a sustainability report.

The factors to be taken into account in the environmental sphere are:

  • raw materials;
  • energy;
  • water and wastewater;
  • biodiversity;
  • emissions;
  • wastewater and waste;
  • environmental compliance;
  • environmental assessment of suppliers.

The only way to counter greenwashing is to prove the company’s actual commitment to making its business more environmentally sustainable through numbers and objective evidence. This is why, depending on the nature of your business, data on the aforementioned aspects must be collected, tracked and faithfully reported in the sustainability report.

Social standards

Last but not least, it is necessary to account for business processes that impact the third pillar of sustainability: the social dimension.

There is growing demand for transparency in this area, especially from the younger generation. It is not enough to provide environmentally friendly services and products; the interests of the people involved (directly or otherwise) in the company’s activities must also be protected.

Where are marketed products manufactured? Are human rights respected? What impact does the service/product have on the community in which it is marketed?

These are just some of the questions that consumers are asking today and that companies are – willingly or unwillingly – required to answer.

Faced with these demands, the GRI Standards are designed to assist companies by identifying the following aspects that need to be monitored in the social sphere:

  • employment;
  • worker-management relations;
  • occupational health and safety;
  • training and education;
  • diversity and equal opportunity;
  • non-discrimination;
  • freedom of association and collective bargaining;
  • child labour;
  • forced or compulsory labour;
  • safety practices;
  • rights of indigenous peoples;
  • assessment of respect for human rights;
  • local communities;
  • social assessment of suppliers;
  • public policy;
  • customer health and safety;
  • marketing and labelling;
  • customer privacy;
  • socio-economic compliance.

Sharing measures taken with regard to these issues is not only a duty, but also benefits the company’s reputation.

Drawing up a sustainability report is a very demanding task, as we at Way2Global are well aware, having decided to voluntarily prepare this report for the third year, even though we are not bound by legal obligations.

At Way2Global, we handle the translation of every type of report, from consolidated financial statements to sustainability reports, which we prefer because they perfectly combine our core business, financial translations, and our Benefit ethos, which led us to base our business plan on the sustainable development goals of Agenda 2030.

If you are looking for a reliable language partner committed to sustainability, please fill in the form and write to us. We are ready to systematise our translation services to build sustainable supply chains.

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    Laura Gori is the Founder and CEO of Way2Global, a women-led translation agency startup with a Benefit ethos. After 30 years at the helm of a small multinational localization company, Laura decided to make a fresh start and founded Way2Global to conduct business in a way that benefits society and the environment, while promoting corporate growth. A fervent advocate of Benefit Corporations and women’s empowerment, Laura takes every opportunity to spread awareness on these issues and contribute to a fairer, more egalitarian and sustainable economy for all.
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