How to Strengthen Your ESG Ratings Through Smarter CSR and Sustainability Reporting

As we’ve previously mentioned, there is a tremendous opportunity for firms to get more bang for their buck when delivering annual CSR/sustainability reports.

To help firms and their clients better align CSR/sustainability reporting and communications, we have developed an ESG optimization framework. The framework uses a step-by-step process to identify credible and effective ways to align CSR/sustainability reporting and communications with ESG ratings criteria and methodologies.

Creating stronger alignment between CSR/sustainability reporting and communications should in turn strengthen the ESG ratings for a client. The ESG Optimization framework includes, but is not limited to the following elements:

Step 1. Information Mapping

For the first step of the framework we want to understand what CSR/sustainability is being reporting or otherwise communicated by the client and their peers. This involves identifying sources of CSR/sustainability information publicly provided by client and other stakeholders as appropriate with an emphasis on ratings agencies and investors.

Step 2. Gap Analysis

Next, we want to evaluate the quality of the CSR/sustainability information that is being reported. To do that we make a series of comparisons to identify gaps in information that can be indicative of relative strengths or weaknesses on materials ESG topics.

We make comparisons between the client, their peers, reporting standards, and ESG ratings and methodologies. Our overall goal is to determine the completeness of existing CSR/sustainability data sources and develop linkages between CSR/sustainability reporting and ESG ratings.

Step 3. Recommendations

Based on evaluation of the quality of previous CSR/sustainability information we will develop recommendations on how to optimize future reporting and communications for improving ESG ratings.

Implementing these recommendations will improve reporting quality and credibility, but can an important secondary benefit of helping to identify strategic opportunities to improve organizational performance on material ESG issues for the client. We will also identify specific options for communications targeting investors, ESG ratings agencies, and other stakeholders.

We work with a wide range of firms, including branding and communications agencies, to optimize CSR/sustainability reports with ESG ratings criteria.

Please contact us for more information.