What’s an environmental report?
An environmental report details an organisation’s interactions with the environment, this report discusses environmental issues related to the organisation and the green plan that the business is following through environmental policies to tackle these issues.
Why are environmental policies important?
Developing a green-related plan or integrating environmental policies into your business helps reduce the overall environmental impact of your operations. Being transparent through the use of environmental reporting, can show your shareholders, consumers and the public that you’re committed to resolving environmental issues, which brings it’s own benefits. There is no specific requirements that exists around environmental policies but bare in mind 4 out of 5 consumers are more likely to choose a brand with a positive approach to environmental sustainability.
What should be included in an environmental report?
Environmental reports need to reflect the environmental impacts that are occurring from your business activity, whether they’re positive or negative, and the plan to improve on these impacts.
With that in mind, environmental reports should contain the following:
- Trends in key performance indicators
- Top management’s commitments
- Organisation’s governance
- Stakeholder engagement
- Risk management
- Long-term vision
- Methodology for identifying environmental issues
- Organisation’s environmental issues
Tips for writing an effective environmental report
Clearly state the objectives
You want to make sure your goals and impacts are clearly understood by readers. Simple language and relevant objectives will do best here. Make sure your actions are made clearly visible and it is easy to see the progress that your business is making.
Whilst setting huge targets that sound great might look attractive at the time, if these are too unachievable, your business will continue to appear to be underachieving and can build a negative representation in the eyes of readers. Instead, be realistic about what you can achieve and in what time frame. Readers want to see growth and understand that this can take time.
Keep it short and concise
You don’t want people to get lost in your environmental report, you want readers to have the specifics. The key segments of your environmental performance need to be easy to find and held together with a clear message on your goals.
Use simple language
If you’re looking for support from readers and shareholders, your report needs to use simple language. The easier your report is to read and understand, the more likely you will garner support.
How to write an environmental report
Step 1: Pick your title
Pick the right title for your report. The title needs to be concise and send a clear message to the reader about the report.
Step 2: Structure your report
Ensuring the structure for your report is organised in an easy to navigate manor. Prepare the topics you will discuss within the report and create titles to reflect these topics. Include major and minor headings to better structure the report and make it easier for the reader to navigate to the section they want more information on. Also, include a small sentence under these headings to act as a topic outline. This outline provides further detail to the reader about what the section is about.
Step 3: Develop an introduction
Start with a small description of the environmental problems within your industry and your organisation, and then continue to expanding on the problem by providing any relevant background information that will support the rest of your report.
You can divide this intro introduction smaller sub sections if required. For larger reports, you can develop subheadings that will allow you to split the sections such as the purpose and scope to allow for easy navigation.
Step 5: Prepare a methods section
In this section, detail the plan you’re taking to combat environmental issues within your industry and to achieve your businesses goals. Whilst no results will be included here, it is important to identify the methods you’re taking to achieve your goals and to provide insight to your readers about the steps you are taking.
Step 6: Include supporting figures
To support your progress, include figures. These figures should support your report rather than being the main focus. For example, to support the movement you have made towards your goals compared to previous years, you could pull in year on year statistics that show the difference and how much closer you are to the goal compared to before. Remember, the stats that you use need to support your writing and having lots of useless statistics makes the report less concise and more difficult to read.
Step 7: Wrap it up with a summary
Have a summary that reinforces your goals and the growth that you have made towards these goals. Finish by discussing the future steps that will be taken to ensure your reach the goals that you have set out.
It’s important to get environmental reports right. You need to garner support from your readers and the best way to do that is to be realistic, transparent and concise with your reports. We always recommend using environmental report experts to help you when producing your report.