A Guide to Corporate Environmental Performance Reporting - Chapter 4
The process by which organizations prepare environmental performance reports is expected to vary depending on their available resources. However, some common stages can be identified as below:
To produce a quality environmental performance report, information and data gathering on environmental performance forms a very important element. Some organizations are first time reporters and may need some prompts on key steps to follow. These are set out below:
The organization might need to appoint a person to coordinate the collection and consolidation of data or information in producing the report. Depending on the size and complexity of the organization, this person might need a small team of key staff from major work areas within the organization who would contribute their own share of information input.
A few points to note when writing the report:
(Charts - extracted from Elec & Eltek Co. Ltd.: "Environmental Performance Report 1998", p.7)
(Graph - extracted from CLP Holdings Ltd.: "Environmental, Health and Safety Review 1997", p.26)
(Table - extracted from the Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.: "Environmental Report 1998 & 1999", p.14)
When drafting is completed, the report will require internal vetting and approval by the top management of the organization. To demonstrate top management commitment, it would be desirable for the Chief Executive Officer or the Managing Director to put a personal statement as foreword to the report on the organization's commitment to responsible care for the environment or sustainable development. It will also underline the importance of environmental initiatives within the overall business strategy of the organization.
A third-party independent verification of the environmental performance report can underpin the credibility of the report by assuring readers that information contained within the report is accurate. Verification also provides the top management of the organization with a level of comfort that its reporting system is adequate and that it has addressed all key environmental impacts and risks. Verification is generally conducted by qualified external parties that are independent from the data collection and report production process. It generally involves the following work :
When reporting on the verification findings, the verifier will also recommend areas for improvement for the next round of reporting. All these findings and recommendations can be summarized as a verifier's statement for inclusion in the environmental performance report.
It is important that the report is made readily accessible to the target audiences. In drawing up the distribution strategy, considerations could be given to the following channels:
In addition to printed hard copies, the organization can also consider the use of websites for disseminating reports to keep in line with the world trend.
Before putting the report to print, it is necessary to estimate the number of copies of reports required for distribution and consider the type of paper to be used. Thoughts could be given to use recycled paper as far as practicable and with due consideration on quality and percentage content of recycled paper.
When the report is available, it is desirable to select the most appropriate means to communicate and raise awareness of key target audiences. Options include: