The Participants have been asked frequently to explain which frameworks and standards should be used in specific circumstances and how the frameworks and standards could work together. For that purpose, the Participants have taken the perspective of report preparers and formulated some typically asked questions answering these from their perspective. ‘We’, therefore, refers to the organisation that the preparer works with. Whenever the Participants use ‘sustainability’, it refers equally to similar terms – such as ESG, corporate responsibility and social responsibility.
The questions largely follow the evolution of reporting on sustainability-related topics:
|How to start with sustainability reporting;|
|Seeking to understand the key nature of the different frameworks and standards;|
|Reporting in a sustainability report to stakeholders;|
|Reporting to investors on financial impacts;|
|Reporting on sustainability alongside financial performance in an annual report;|
|Reporting on the basis of the concept of value creation; and|
|Reporting on climate change more specifically, both the risks and opportunities, and the impact by and on the organisation.|
The FAQs’ objective is to communicate in a plain manner the structure, nature and complementarity of the frameworks and standards of CDP, CDSB, GRI, IIRC, ISO13 and SASB. A summary of each is provided in Figure 4. The FAQs focus on the key objectives and audiences of the frameworks and standards, without suggesting that these are the only way that the they can be used. For a full understanding of the frameworks and standards, readers are referred to the complete frameworks, standards and additional materials developed by Participants.
|CDP issues a questionnaire-based framework that collects information on climate change, water security and forest commodities via an online platform. The data collected may be used as content for sustainability, annual or integrated reports. The main users of the information collected and scores given by CDP are institutional investors, purchasing organisations and policymakers.||The CDSB Framework provides guidance on how and what to report on climate, natural capital and other environmental issues in a mainstream annual report. It contains both principles and content elements (i.e. requirements) and is developed to serve reporting to investors primarily.|
|The GRI Standards outline how and what to report regarding the material economic, social and environmental impacts of an organisation on sustainable development. For 33 potentially material sustainability topics, the Standards contain disclosure requirements. The GRI Standards can be used in sustainability reports, as well as in annual or integrated reports. It is oriented at a broad range of stakeholders.||The IIRC has developed the International <IR> Framework. This Framework explains how an organisation can report on the value it creates for itself and others. The International <IR> Framework is based on six capitals, which include sustainability topics. Reporting on the basis of the International <IR> Framework results in an integrated annual report or in a separate integrated report. The main audience is providers of financial capital.|
|ISO has developed the standard ISO 26000 on social responsibility. This standard provides a conceptual framework and guidance that covers seven core subjects of organisational sustainability. It can be used in both sustainability reports and annual or integrated reports. Reporting on the basis of ISO 26000 can address a broad range of stakeholders.||SASB’s Standards guide reporting on financially material environmental, social and governance issues by means of indicators (called metrics) and disclosures for 77 industries. Its main use is intended to be in the communications to investors, such as the annual report. It has the objective to inform financial stakeholders.|
Figure 4: A summary of each of the reporting organisations and the frameworks or standards included in the FAQs.