What makes a difference? Where does it make a difference? These questions are increasingly important for large enterprise’s sustainability reporting.
As from next year, Trelleborg AB will report according to the new guidelines of Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The relevance of what is being done and communicated will become even more important.
After the current GRI3 follows GRI4. The differences in the two guidelines, for international sustainability reporting by Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), can be seen as only details for experts. But they will actually make companies such as Trelleborg more transparent.
“Instead of reporting on everything, we will do an even better materiality analysis in order to give space and focus for matters which really are relevant,” explains Rosman Jahja, responsible for sustainability reporting at Trelleborg Group.
During 2014, Trelleborg will start reporting according to GRI4. The previous levels A-C disappear. The reason is that they were misinterpreted as saying something about the quality of the company’s sustainability work. But actually the levels were only meant to say something about the extent of reporting the company has chosen.
“What is most important is not how much you report, but that what you have communicated really has relevance,” says Rosman Jahja.
He leads the internal work within the Trelleborg Group for finding out which areas are most relevant to work with and communicate. Among a number of activities, a workshop for Trelleborg managers was arranged in February 2014. The aim was to sort out what makes the biggest impact. The findings are then analysed together with what stakeholders expect from the company. Customers, suppliers, shareholders and potential future employees such as students have had the possibility to leave their opinion about Trelleborg’s ambitions for creating sustainable business.
Rosman Jahja sees the fact that Trelleborg Group allocates more time and resources to sustainability issue as a clear sign that the company’s top management takes responsibility for the society at large, the environment and people seriously.
“There is an obvious understanding for the relation between sustainability and profitable business,” says Rosman Jahja. “That’s why it is important that managers from different business units and geographical locations get together to discuss and make common priorities.
At the same time, he highlights that it is not about turning everything in the sustainable report upside down. He predicts that energy, emissions, chemicals and all types of law observance will still be in focus in the future.
“If we have followed a certain indicator over a long period, it is likely to be relevant.”
But the priority order will most likely change and some areas will be more in the spotlight than today.
“More importantly than reporting on a lot of things, it is to do what matters really well,” Rosman Jahja concludes.
Download: Trelleborg’s Corporate Responsibility report 2013