A recent survey conducted by Ernst and Young on corporate sustainability trends revealed that 76% of respondents compile their data using spreadsheets. While an increasing number of organizations are conducting sustainability reporting, the growth of reporting is hampered by rudimentary tools. As Joel Makower, founder of GreenBiz, points out in his summary of the survey “…sustainability is of growing importance to CFOs, but the tools being used to gather sustainability information are Stone Age, technologically speaking.”
The big question is why organizations are using tools with such limited utility. There are a number of factors that can play a part: limited budget and personnel, lack of support or buy-in at the CXO-level, limited expertise in sustainability issues, to name a few. Organizations may be struggling to just get started with their sustainability reporting. They are expected to implement a sustainability program for long-term competitive advantage, as well as show immediate results and progress from sustainability reporting. Sustainability reporting tools and solutions need to bridge the gap between short-term tactics and long-term strategy by providing a clear path with manageable steps.