Brunch

Sustainability reporting 

  • A corporate tool to ensure sustainable practice

The lofty goal of building a sustainable world is not something that can be done by one person alone. It requires all of us, from individual citizens to the state, businesses, and organisations to come together. It involves reevaluating how we live and work and making conscious changes to be better. 

The UN has given serious thought to how we can build a sustainable world, developing 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for international institutions, governments, businesses, and individuals all around the world to work towards to create a safe, sustainable, and inclusive global society. These goals range from development-focused goals like addressing the urgency of climate change to developing clean and affordable energy, to socially-driven goals like eradicating poverty and gender equality. The UN also declared the 2020s to be “the decade of action” with the UN and its partner organisations accelerating efforts to address and resolve critical issues by 2030.

One very important SDG is SDG #12, which is to do with responsible consumption and production. The official wording of SDG 12 is “to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”, and while this definitely does have applications when it comes to individuals and state-run enterprises, it is also equally important for the corporate and business world. 

Working to address SDG #12, national undergraduate platform The G17 University Ambassadors’ Consortium will be hosting “Sustainability Reporting”, a special webinar that looks at the practice of sustainability reporting and how Sri Lankan companies can build sustainable reporting into their corporate practice and become more effective active contributors to a sustainable. The G17 University Ambassadors Consortium is a platform founded by youth-led human rights and SDG advocacy initiatitve The Road To Rights and features over 200 student ambassadors engaged in a one year fellowship programme. 

“Sustainability Reporting” is a special webinar that will feature a panel discussion from Sri Lankan corporate leaders, including Sunshine Holdings PLC Director and Committee reviewing applicability of integrated reporting in Sri Lanka Chair Asite Thalwatte, Ceylon Tea Brokers PLC Financial Controller Nishantha Adhikari, Smart Media The Annual Report Company Smart Academy Chief Officer Raja Senanayake, and Whittall Boustead (Travel) Manager Vinodhani Radhakrishnan.

G17 University Ambassador Dushara Divyanjalee 

Brunch spoke with G17 University Ambassador Dushara Divyanjalee, who is spearheading “Sustainable Reporting”. Divyanjalee explained that sustainability reporting, where organisations report the work they do for the betterment of the environment and the communities they impact, is a concept that can drive all organisations to work more sustainably which in turn will lead to a more sustainable planet. 

“Sustainability reporting is a way for organisations to show (and think about) how they sustainably use the resources they work with, how they manage their waste, and the things they do for the betterment of the environment and society,” Divyanajalee explained: “But people are still unfamiliar with the sustainability reporting concept.” 

Divayanjalee further explained that in some cases, sustainability reporting is part of a company’s annual report, stressing that all companies should build sustainability reporting into their annual corporate practice to fully understand where they stand in terms of their impact on the environment and society. 

The importance of sustainability reporting, Divyanjalee shared, is that it forces companies to think about how sustainably they use their resources, and encourages them to improve in their sustainability practices to remain competitive because they need to report their progress and activities in this arena each year. Divyanjalee also added that most companies do understand the importance of sustainability, but lack of accountability leads to many companies sacrificing sustainability in order to make bigger profits. 

“This webinar is intended to be an eye-opener on why it is important to embrace the concept of sustainability reporting,” Divyanjalee explained, adding: “And the fact that the corporate world can and should accept sustainability.” 

Adding that the webinar had been conceptualised mostly for future managers, management undergraduates, and private sector heads, Sustainability Reporting entrepreneurs, and employers, Divyanjalee stressed that sustainability reporting is an important concept for everyone. “If you are investing in a company, in whatever capacity, you should have a good understanding on how that company is contributing to our society and preserving our resources,” she said. 

“Sustainability Reporting” takes place on 25 September at 5 p.m. via Zoom and Facebook Live. For more information and to register please visit: 

Facebook: Sustainability Reporting