These resources will help you to identify and transparently disclose performance data, processes, assumptions, successes, challenges, failures, and other information that helps others understand your sustainability performance and to put that into context.
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Primers for Senior Leaders
Produced by Chartered Professional Accountants Canada, this is an introductory roadmap for companies new to sustainability reporting. The guide covers current practices, offers insight into relevant reporting frameworks, and uses examples to outline the steps involved in developing a reporting process.
This report is an excellent primer on most commonly cited ESG reporting frameworks: the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Although intended for CIOs, this report will provide executives and change agents across the spectrum with a basic understanding of the frameworks and their fundamental differences, including audience, scope, and competing definitions.
This free, open-source workbook from Sustainability Advantage compares how the top sustainability reporting, assessment, and ranking frameworks (such as the Sustainable Development Goals, GRI Standards, SASB Standards, the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures, and more) address the same 18 sustainability topics and issues. This one-stop shop will be particularly helpful for bringing employees, leaders, and budding change agents up to speed on corporate sustainability frameworks.
Disclosure Principles, Standards, and Guidance
Momentum is growing for organisations to formally and transparently articulate the risks that climate change poses to the value of their assets and their future profitability. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) emerged as a response to this call for action, empowering companies to more effectively measure and evaluate their own risks and those of their suppliers and competitors. The TCFD promoted “consistent, comparable, reliable, clear, and efficient” voluntary climate-related financial disclosures, and has developed comprehensive recommendations and resources in support of this. These resources focus on governance, strategy, risk, metrics, targets, and the use of scenario analysis for evaluating climate-related financial risks and opportunities.
The TCFD has produced a comprehensive Final Recommendations report and several supplemental reports, including a Technical supplement, which provides in-depth information and tools for using scenario analyses to understand the strategic implications of climate-related risks and opportunities to your organisation.
Although these resources remain to be an invaluable source of guidance, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and IFRS have announced that the TCFD has fulfilled its remit and disbanded, and that monitoring of the progress of corporate climate-related disclosures now rests with the IFRS Foundation's ISSB.
This handbook from the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) identifies good practices in implementing the TCFD recommendations. Drawing upon a diverse range of examples, these good practices cover the four core elements of governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets.
Reversing global nature loss depends on a shift in global financial flows away from nature-negative outcomes and toward nature-positive outcomes. This depends on large and small businesses across supply chains, financial institutions, and industries of all types collectively identifying, assessing, managing, and disclosing nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks, and opportunities. Towards meeting this inter-industrial challenge, the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) was established in 2021 in response to the growing need to factor nature into financial and business decisions.
The TNFD has developed a market-led, science-based risk management and disclosure framework for organisations to report and act on evolving nature-related risks and opportunities. The TNFD has also developed a Knowledge Bank that features a curated collection of the latest external resources and market insights on nature-related risks and opportunities.
The CSRD is intended to bring sustainability reporting up to the same quality and control bar as financial reporting, and companies will need to elevate the breadth and robustness of their ESG reporting to comply with these new regulations. Watershed has created this short guide to help you to better understand the CSRD’s technical rules, also known as the European Sustainability Reporting Standards. These rules include topics such as general disclosures, social and environmental standards, and governance standards. It also unpacks how the CSRD define "double materiality" and outlines timeframes and other CSRD reporting expectations.
This brief article from Harvard Law school explains what the EU’s new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) disclosure requirements mean for business outside of the EU. It outlines what businesses it applies to, the timeline over which it will be phased in, provides a summary of key aspects of the disclosure standard, and identifies where if differs from existing standards. These insights will be most useful to sustainability and legal teams.
Implementation Guidance for the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) Standards and the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS)
This guidance from the WBCSD CFO Network can help you to better meet modern sustainability reporting requirements and respond more credibly to requests for sustainability performance information from investors, banks and regulators. It provides a side-by-side analysis of two new sustainability disclosure standards: the IFRS standard from the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and the European Sustainability Reporting Standard. It explains how to set up reporting; identifies what needs to be reported; explains how to ensure credible disclosures; and more. This guidance may be especially useful to CFOs and finance teams.
The IFRS Foundation is a not-for-profit responsible for developing global accounting and sustainability disclosure standards, known as the IFRS Standards. The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) is an independent standard-setting body within the IFRS Foundation, and they have created a framework for the global business community to disclose material information on sustainability and exposure to climate-related risks and opportunities. This will help ensure that companies are providing consistent and comparable sustainability-related information alongside financial statements, in the same reporting package.
IFRS S1 provides a set of general reporting requirements for disclosing sustainability-related risks over the short, medium, and long term. IFRS S2 sets out specific climate-related disclosures, including the impact that climate change will have on an entity’s financial position, performance, cash flows, strategy, and business model. IFRS S2 is designed to be used with IFRS S1, and both of these standards fully incorporate the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
This article from the IFRS can help you understand what the new ISSB standards are about. The inaugural IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards were issued to provide a global baseline of sustainability-related disclosures for the capital markets. IFRS S1 requires companies to communicate the sustainability-related risks and opportunities they face over the short, medium, and long term, and IFRS S2 sets out specific climate-related disclosures and is designed to be used with IFRS S1. This article provides a useful overview for Sustainability and Finance teams that will be making use of the new standards in their corporate reporting.
Developed in 1997, the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards (GRI Standards) became the first and most widely used global standards for sustainability reporting. Today, over 12,000 companies use GRI Guidelines for sustainability reports, and they continue to serve as a credible global industry standard. This link introduces the global best practices for reporting publicly on universal standards. It also dives into a range of more specific topics related to social, environmental, and economic impacts.
As ESG reporting requirements evolve, many companies find themselves struggling to provide forward-looking, investor-grade information. This guide from WBCSD provides a 3-part structured process for selecting and structuring inputs during the ESG reporting decision-making process. For practitioners involved in corporate disclosure activities, this handbook directly addresses many of the most common questions that Boards of Directors and other executives have about ESG disclosure.
This disclosure framework from the Transition Plan Taskforce (TPT), a UK government initiative, can help you understand how to prepare a robust climate transition plan as part of your annual reporting. It outlines what a good practice transition plan is, based on the International Sustainability Standards Board’s (ISSB) definition and how the framework aligns with the ISSB’s climate-related disclosure Standard, and provides recommendations for effective reporting.
Developed by WBCSD and now a part of ESG Book, the Reporting Exchange is a free online platform that connects you to reliable, comparable information on sustainability reporting requirements and resources. The platform provides detailed, up-to-date coverage from 60 countries and across dozens of sectors, and will help change agents, investors, and leaders within your company who want relevant resources for comparing, preparing, and delivering corporate sustainability reports. The platform's global database contains mandatory and voluntary disclosure requirements, sustainability ratings, rankings, and indexes, and allows you to connect, share, and track relevant updates.
This report by the SustainAbility Institute and the Capitals Coalition builds a case for nature-related disclosure and provides a roadmap for how businesses can approach it. The report unpacks new nature frameworks; connects the Capitals Coalition’s Natural Capital Protocol with the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosure's (TNFD) beta framework; and outlines a set of nature-related actions that your company can and should take today. This is a good resource for preparing leaders and boards to make clear, consistent, and timely nature-related disclosures upon the TNFD's launch.
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) have released a comprehensive action platform with three primary deliverables to accelerate corporate reporting on the Global Goals.
The first publication is the report An Analysis of the Goals and Targets, which aims to help companies understand how they are impacting the SDGs and their targets, and provides a list of indicators to make reporting on the SDGs simple and straightforward.
The second publication, Integrating the SDGs into Corporate Reporting: A Practical Guide, aims to support companies in prioritising, measuring, and reporting on their impact on the SDGs, as well as setting related business objectives. This guide outlines a three-step process to embed the SDGs in existing business and reporting processes and builds upon a suite of existing and established resources, including the UNGC’s Ten Principles, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards.
Finally, the third publication, In Focus: Addressing Investor Needs in Business Reporting on the SDGs, informs investor-relevant aspects of corporate SDG reporting.
This toolkit was created by GRI and the Responsible Labor Initiative (RLI) to encourage and improve reporting on modern slavery and to support action across the value chain. This toolkit will help change agents to understand why modern slavery has become increasingly important to corporate sustainability reporting, and includes a practical approach for them to report on the issue in alignment with stakeholder expectations. Included are summaries of key slavery-related topics, questions, and concerns; reporting examples; testimonials from reporters and stakeholders; relevant GRI standards guidance; and examples of tools that will facilitate your reporting.
This report from the NewClimate Institute and Carbon Market Watch will help you to understand the key elements of corporate climate responsibility and to see how other leading companies are progressing against their targets (if at all). It includes good practice principles for tracking and disclosing emissions, setting targets, reducing emissions, and for climate contributions and offsetting. It includes trends, examples of good role models, and examples of insufficient practices, as well as assessments of the integrity of climate pledges from 24 of the world's largest companies.
This research report from SustainAbility offers guidance on best practices to help practitioners better align their company's sustainability and financial transparency. The document helps to explain the evolution and current trend of sustainability transparency and its relationship with financial disclosure, and provides a helpful roadmap that explores four core elements of alignment: audience, materiality, curation, and delivery. The report also provides brief case studies which highlight best practices in relation to these core elements.
Towards achieving a regenerative and inclusive global economy, r3.0 crowd-sources expert input into their 'blueprint' reports, which include examples and recommendations for redesign in the fields of reporting, accounting, data, and new business models. For practitioners seeking a new 'common ground,' these blueprints may help you to identify and fill gaps between current practices and necessary progress.
This informal reference guide from the Nasdaq Stock Exchange will help you to better understand and identify the latest environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting standards and methodologies and to navigate the evolving standards on ESG data disclosure.
This report from BSR draws on features from notable reporting standards and frameworks - including GRI, SASB, and the TCFD - and presents a five-step process for effective disclosure. While the first step in couched in materiality, from which leading companies are moving beyond, steps 2-5 will be particularly helpful for first-time reporters to better evaluate and understand their audience and the presentation and formatting of their report.
If you are looking for a more comprehensive explanation of the concept and applicability of double materiality, this white paper from GRI may be of help. It draws on academic research to investigate how double-materiality is implemented in sustainability reporting and identifies some of the benefits and challenges when applying double-materiality in practice.
BSR has created a blog series focused on expanding the scope and value of materiality assessments. The first can help you to understand the value of taking a scenario-driven approach to double materiality, where stress-testing and scenario analysis are used to determine which sustainability issues are most likely to challenge and undermine the resilience of your organisation. The second can help you to understand the value of taking a scenario-driven approach to double materiality, where stress-testing and scenario analysis are used to determine which sustainability issues are most likely to challenge and undermine the resilience of your organisation. The third can help you to understand the benefits of focusing your materiality assessment on your company's impacts on communities, the environment, and other affected stakeholders rather than on decision-useful disclosures for investors and other report readers.
This comprehensive guide is an excellent resource for disclosing the links between your company's sustainability activities and their contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a straightforward and simple way. It provides detailed information on existing and established disclosures that businesses can use to report in connection with SDG targets, including metrics used by the CDP, SASB, UN Guiding Principles, World Benchmarking Alliance, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the World Economic Forum. It also identifies existing gaps where established disclosures are not yet available.
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