Information should be presented for the current reporting period (such as the current year such as) and at least two previous periods, as well as future targets, where they have been established, for the short- and medium-term.
In some cases, ratios or normalized data are useful and appropriate formats for data presentation. If ratios or normalized data are used, absolute data should also be provided. Explanatory notes are advisable.
Organizations will need to determine the level of aggregation at which to present information. This requires balancing the effort required against the added meaningfulness of information reported on a disaggregated basis (such as country or site). Aggregation of information can result in the loss of a significant amount of meaning, and can also fail to highlight particularly strong or poor performance in specific areas. On the other hand, unnecessary disaggregation of data can affect the ease of understanding the information. Organizations should disaggregate information to an appropriate level using the Principles and the Guidance. Disaggregation may vary by Indicator, but will generally provide more insight than a single, aggregated figure.
Reported data should be presented using generally accepted international metrics (such as kilograms, tonnes, litres) and calculated using standard conversion factors. When specific international conventions exist (such as GHG equivalents), these are typically specified in the Indicators’ Guidance.
REPORTING REQUIRED STANDARD DISCLOSURES BY USING REFERENCESInformation related to Standard Disclosures required by the ‘in accordance’ options may already be included in other reports prepared by the organization, such as its annual report to shareholders or other regulatory or voluntary reports. In these circumstances, the organization may elect to not repeat those disclosures in its sustainability report and instead add a reference to where the relevant information can be found.This presentation is acceptable as long as the reference is specific (for example, a general reference to the annual report to shareholders would not be acceptable, unless it includes the name of the section, table, etc.) and the information is publicly available and readily accessible. This is likely the case when the sustainability report is presented in electronic or web based format and links are provided to other electronic or web based reports.MEDIUM OF REPORTINGElectronic or web-based reporting and paper reports are appropriate media for reporting. Organizations may choose to use a combination of web and paper-based reports or use only one medium. For example, an organization may choose to provide a detailed report on their website and provide an executive summary including their strategy and analysis and performance information in paper form. The choice will likely depend on the organization’s decisions on its reporting period, its plans for updating content, the likely users of the report, and other practical factors, such as its distribution strategy.At least one medium (web or paper) should provide users with access to the complete set of information for the reporting period.FREQUENCY OF REPORTINGOrganizations should define a consistent reporting period for issuing a report. For many organizations, this will be annually, although some organizations choose to report biannually. An organization may choose to update information between the issuing of consolidated accounts of performance. This has advantages in terms of providing stakeholders with more immediate access to information, but has disadvantages in terms of comparability of information. However, organizations should still maintain a predictable cycle in which all of the information that is reported covers a specific time period.Reporting on economic, environmental and social performance could coincide or be integrated with other organizational reporting, such as annual financial statements. Coordinated timing reinforces the linkages between financial performance and economic, environmental and social performance.UPDATING REPORT CONTENTWhen preparing a new report, an organization may identify areas of information that have not changed since the prior report (such as a policy that has not been amended). The organization may choose to only update the topics and Indicators that have changed and to re-publish the Standard Disclosures that have not changed. For example, an organization may choose to reproduce the information on policies that have not changed and only update its Indicators. The flexibility to take such an approach will depend in large part on the organization’s choice of reporting medium. Some topics such as Strategy and Analysis and DMA and Indicators, are likely to show changes each reporting period, while other topics, such as organizational profile or governance, may change at a slower pace. Regardless of the strategy used, the full set of applicable information for the reporting period should be accessible in a single location (either a paper or web-based document).