A progress report is better than promises
If you are a voracious consumer of corporate content, like we are, you will agree that most websites will cover sustainability topics by parading their good intentions towards the environment, diversity or even social equality. Too often, no evidence is offered on actual steps taken.
Actions speak, as we know, louder than words. These are no longer enough – if they have ever been – to show that an organisation is working towards a sustainable world.
Waste, pollution, deforestation, social inequality and many other issues are of paramount importance for the sustainable development of our planet and society. A company that ignores them is likely to face not only regulators’ fines but, maybe worse, the rage of increasingly risk-conscious stakeholders.
Both consumers and corporate stakeholders have grown more demanding and they have more information at hand. Product quality is obviously a recurring concern but corporate behaviour towards sustainability issues is attracting ever more attention.
Spreading the word online about what the company is doing for sustainable development is not only important to establish a company’s reputation as a responsible corporate citizen. Moreover, it will enable stakeholders to vouch for the company at any moment.
Rolls-Royce and its progress towards sustainability targets
This prestigious company walks the walk – no doubt about it.
Rolls-Royce has clearly realised the importance of reporting progress towards sustainable goals. Besides sharing its approach to sustainability issues, the company shows the results of its materiality analysis and proactively informs about targets and related achievements.
Target progress is the company’s page to inform about targets and achievements. All charts are clickable and link to further information such as a paragraph on why a given item matters to the company, progress since the baseline year of 2014 and the company’s initiatives to work towards the achievement of targets.
The page provides ample evidence that Roll-Royce is not about promises. The disclosure of progress allows stakeholders such as employees to see the result of their efforts and share this information with their network. Just as important, it gives prospective socially responsible investors a first glimpse of the company’s sustainability record.
As you would expect, Rolls-Royce has not simply adopted boilerplate goals. The targets chosen derive from Rolls-Royce’s own materiality analysis. Issues rated as critical, high or moderate for the company’s stakeholders are embodied in the targets the company aims to achieve.
When in doubt follow the 17 United Nations SDGs
The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals provide a reliable set of targets to address global challenges. Working towards these goals is an excellent way to channel efforts into internationally recognised issues that have a material impact on society, current and future.
If you don’t know what targets to set for your company or if you don’t know how to communicate your initiatives and progresses, try to do it according to the following goals. If you need inspiration you can also review our article on Unilever’s practice and follow suit.
The 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are:
Inspiration from Unilever:
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