What are the current best-practice trends in sustainability reporting?

It is crucial to keep in mind that the field of sustainability reporting is dynamic, and new trends push towards even better reporting practices. But keeping up with the latest trends doesn’t have to feel like a challenge too big to achieve.

Here are the top three trends that we advocate for this year:

  1. Double materiality, but no more matrix

The one clear trend is that double materiality remains a critical starting point for reporters. Double materiality assessments focus on both the impact and financial sides of materiality. This helps to identify efforts on issues that have the greatest impact and significance unique to their business.

When it comes to presenting the results, more and more companies are moving away from the materiality matrix. Officially abandoned by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in 2021, the matrix has been criticised for potentially skewing the focus on dots in a box over the real importance of issues. The matrix can also encourage reporters to include too many issues rather than making hard choices about priority.

  1. Voluntary ESG frameworks as preparation for legislation

ESG frameworks help to ensure consistency and comparability of information. We have seen companies increasingly lean towards GRI and the UN Global Compact and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help disclose data. By aligning reporting with these widely recognised frameworks, companies can prepare for compliance with relevant regulations as well as play a vital role in promoting responsible business conduct globally.

One trend that is now becoming more mainstream is aligning to a focused range of SDGs (six goals maximum) to help communicate that a company does not exist in a vacuum, but in systems. This is best practice, as claiming to impact on multiple goals removes authenticity and practicality from a reporter’s messaging. 

  1. Longer shelf life of your report

Technology is playing a significant role in streamlining and enhancing sustainability reporting processes. Digital reporting platforms, data analytics and automation tools are being utilised to collect, analyse and report sustainability data efficiently. We advise leveraging an editorial calendar to strategically plan and distribute content related to your report to significantly enhance its shelf life. This approach helps maintain engagement, reach a broader audience and ensure that the report's insights remain visible and impactful over an extended period.

Want to learn more about how Luminous can help you meet the trends detailed above? Please get in touch with rachel.madan@luminous.co.uk