Typically, the emphasis on corporate sustainability is placed on the reporting process. Processes and structures required to oversee and co-ordinate sustainability practices are seldom given the priority they deserve and are often only considered during the annual reporting cycle.
Trialogue advocates that attending to the management of sustainability practices is essential in order to show consistent improvements and avoid superficial and inconsistent reporting. To this end, we have developed a framework to assist organisations in integrating sustainability within their strategy, decision making and business operations.
For the past two years we have used this framework to organise and advance practices outside of the reporting cycle for one of our key clients. The first step was to assess the Board’s and Executives’ aspirational positioning in terms of sustainability and to define a long-term roadmap to achieve this aspiration. At a strategic level we then defined the integrated thinking framework, comprising of value drivers, strategic objectives and material matters, which are underpinned with executable initiatives and measurable KPIs. The framework also allocates accountability and ownership at executive and operational levels, which was enabled by streamlining the governance process to ensure that performance progress was tracked and that there was a feedback loop to the Social and Ethics Committee, Board and Executive team.
In parallel to this we have documented the integrated thinking framework into a sustainability manual and are supporting the organisation in creating internal awareness on their integrated thinking framework. Our focus going forward will be at much more of a granular level to support key initiatives as part of the organisation’s sustainability roadmap.
The impact of our work is beginning to show positive results in securing internal buy-in and adoption of sustainability practices. It also ensures a much smoother annual reporting process, with the report writers having a structural foundation to start with and the reporting process itself contributing to the iterative improvement of the integrated thinking framework.