The deadlines for GRESB and GRI reporting submissions are fast approaching! GRESB is July 1, and CDP for companies is June 29, 2017. And although the timeline for making positive changes to impact your results for the 2016 reporting year has closed, it’s not too late to put together a stellar submission for either framework.

Here’s what you need to know:

Reporting is Smart

If you have not yet decided to submit a response this year, you are missing a chance to show investors, employees, and stakeholders that you mean (good) business. These frameworks help you show that you are creating a resilient operation that can stand the test of time, and climate change. You do this by demonstrating year-over-year progress on environmental, social, and financial anchors to the business, which these frameworks were each designed to do. It’s also an advantage over competitors who are not doing the same.

You might be thinking that reporting doesn’t affect you in your area of business, but you’d be wrong. No matter your role or business type, there are serious benefits from reporting:

  1. Improve brand perceptions (Marketing)
  2. Increase demand from investors (Sales), employees (Human Resources), and stakeholders (Communications)
  3. Improve energy efficiency from monitoring and verifying performance data (that’s a cost savings your CFO will love)
  4. Mitigate risk (Legal) from effects of climate change
  5. Increase share of voice in the marketplace (Marketing and Communications)
  6. Strengthen customer-facing materials (Sales)
  7. Increase market penetration (Sales)

While the upsides of reporting are clear and well-documented, reporting is not always easy, especially during your first reporting year. Here are our best tips and tricks to out-wit common pitfalls.

Collecting performance data

Collecting different types of data from different sources is one of the biggest challenges companies and REITs face in this process. Data collection requires communication and coordination across an entire organization. And getting the data is just one step – the data also needs to be compiled in a like-for-like format for analysis and comparison. Some companies report that they spend as much as 300 hours collecting and packaging the data for even relatively small portfolios.

In your first year, focus on the following:

  • Determine your reporting boundary. Which buildings are in and which are out of your reporting, and why?
  • Identify your internal allies who can provide the info you need year over year. Look across silos to Facilities, Human Resources, Legal, and others!
  • Test and Learn. The first year is the hardest. From there it’s all about optimization and continuous improvement.

Start thinking about 2018

It’s already March, which means you now have less than 12 months to implement improvements to raise next year’s score. Don’t wait until July 2nd to start thinking about 2018!

Start by examining your organization’s priorities, such as energy efficiency, operational excellence, and transparency; and identify any easy wins.

GRESB results will come back in September, and CDP results will come back in mid-fall.  When you get your results, prioritize areas where your peers scored high and your organization scored low. These are likely easy to implement, high value, or both! Plan to make as many improvements as feasible this year, and then create a roadmap for improvement over the longer horizon.

Involve company leaders

This is the right time to connect with your executive leadership team and reinforce the tangible values of CSR reporting. Whether it’s through GRESB, CDP, or GRI, you can help your leadership team establish best practices, implement socially responsible programs, link CSR reporting to company goals and values, and create a successful survey response that will impress your investors and stakeholders. It will impress your peers and employees too!

At Paladino we help organizations drive meaningful business outcomes and satisfy investor demands through reporting. If you have any questions about reporting, or best practices from your own experience you want to share, let us know in the comments!

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