25 April, 2018 Sustainability Hub Norway, together with Scatec Solar, Statkraft, and Statoil, hosted its annual sustainability reporting event in collaboration with the World Benchmarking Alliance and the Dutch Embassy. It was a particularly monumental day for S-HUB, as the 'State of Sustainability' report was launched in addition to S-HUB's first annual report.
The 'State of Sustainability' is based on S-HUB's previous editor, Pia Lefevre, masters thesis at NTNU. She conduced a survey on 115 Norwegian companies, enabling her to map out the current trends of sustainability in Norwegian companies. The report was prepared by S-HUB's leading member, Leidar Norway.
This year there were more than 135 people in attendance at the event, with 180 registered and a long waiting list. Similar to last year, summaries of each speaker as well as each speaker's presentation is included below as well as videos of each speaker.
Part 1: Sustainability Reporting
During the first part of the seminar, thought-leaders and corporations led discussions on trends, and showcased different approaches to sustainability reporting.
Game changers in sustainability reporting - TCFD
Johanne Ness a Climate & Environment Advisor from Cemasys presented the game changers in sustainability reporting including the Paris Agreement, Global Risks Report from the World Economic Forum, Financial Stability Board (FSB), and Network for Greening the Financial System (FGFS). The true kickstarter for this type of reporting was the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (FCFD), which was created with the goal to assess and price climate related risk/opportunities and transparency. When reporting keep in mind:
Integrated reporting, an avenue to faith in sustainability indicators?
Hanne Thornam, Head of Sustainability Services Norway - EY, explained that companies in the 21st-century are knowledge based compared to product based companies of the 20th-century. Investors now want to see non-financial information such as a company's long term strategy for sustainability, which can create value in the short and long-term. Notable examples of sustainability strategy and indicators include: Storebrand, Tine, and Crown Estate.
Investor expectations of TCFD reporting
Lars Erik Mangset, a Senior Advisor of Responsible Investments at KLP made it clear that the most important aspect about TCFD reporting is just to start. He explained that investors realize that this type of reporting is new for many companies, thus as long as your company is committed to improving reporting methods such as standardizing over time and communicating even uncertainties investors will most likely be satisfied.
The design choices of Scatec Solar's 2017 sustainability report
Scatec Solar had high ambitions for its 2017 sustainability report - embarking on a journey to improve the report from last year - kicking this year-long process off by co-hosting the Sustainability Reporting event in April 2017, partnering with S-HUB and reaching out to various stakeholders.
Julie Hamre, Senior Sustainability Advisor and her team introduced GRI standards and aligned the reporting to criteria from external rankings such as Sustainalytics. Her topic tip is to work with your stakeholders, not just your investors to get feedback on how your company can improve in reporting.
The design choices of Statkraft's 2017 sustainability report
For Statkraft's 2017 sustainability report, topics were grouped by social, environmental, and economic GRI standard disclosures. Rachel Groux Nürnberg, SVP Head of Corporate Responsibility, praised the GRI questions for creating engagement on sustainability within the company, further saying that reporting is a vehicle that contributes to driving performance. From a practitioner's perspective a sustainability report should be: transparent and balanced, show the risks and opportunities, and tell consistent stories.
The design choices of Statoil's 2017 sustainability report
For this year's report, Statoil played with the idea of integrating its sustainability report into its annual report, however, it ultimately decided to focus on a separate sustainability report and also using web-based reporting to share underlying data. The sustainability reporting team, led by Sophie Tibble, Senior Advisor of Corporate Sustainability, determined that the report needs to be understandable in the eyes of lots of different readers, including those who actively use social media. Although Statoil's sustainability priorities do not change year to year, what the company focuses on does. Sophie says, "What we have to show is how business in contributing to sustainable development and we need to try to quantify that". This year Statoil's key focus was how to tackle SDG number 13, Climate Action.
Part 1: Panel discussion and Q&A
Cilia Holmes Indahl, the Sustainability Director of Aker Biomarine, led the panel discussion with the speakers from part one of the event. Topics included how much information should companies disclose, what is the strategy for companies setting goals around science based targets, and the complexities of applying GHG Protocol Corporate Standard classifications scope 1, 2, and 3.
Part 2: Measuring SDG impact
The second part focused on diving deeper into the Sustainable Development Goals, with presentations and discussions on how companies are already reporting towards them; challenges and solutions in measurement, and how investors are using this information.
How to report on the SDGs: What good looks like and why it matters
Anette Rønnov, KPMG's Director Sustainability Services Norway discussed the firm's research on what the biggest 250 global companies are doing in relation to the SDGs. To analyze these companies, KMPG developed 9 criteria for what good SDG reporting looks like that focuses on measurement, prioritization, and understanding. Key insights from the report include:
Measuring and comparing performance between companies
Gerbrand Haverkamp the Executive Director of the Dutch based, World Benchmarking Alliance, founded the organization with the goal of benchmarking companies against themselves as well as other companies as well as how companies contribute to the SDGs by a sector by sector bases.
Benchmarking companies is seen as a driver for change not only across sector, but collaboratively, with input from companies, civil society, governmental organizations, and investors. This alliance aims to build on different and relevant principles, frameworks and standards of sustainability reporting.
What do investors use SDG information for
Matthew Smith, the Head of Sustainable Investments at Storebrand Asset Management
explained that the investment firm preforms sustainability rankings. Top companies that are rated 'solution stocks' are selected for dedicated sustainability funds, while the 10% worst performers in high risk industries are excluded from all investments. He also provided insights on why your company should use SDG information in investment analyses:
Part 2: Panel discussion and Q&A
Andreas Friis, the Managing Director of Sustainability Hub Norway, led the second panel. The biggest challenges for using the SDGs on not only a global scale, but also a more local scale were discussed. The term 'SDG-washing' was also brought up. This term basically means that companies often loosely integrate the SDGs into sustainability reports without holistically addressing how the company will reach the targets or goals. In other words, just starting to work on the SDGs is simply not enough, there are less than 12 years before the SDGs need to be met in 2030.
Text: Lauren Guido
Video: Mads Metz/ Litteraturhuset
Video editing: Esther van Langen