Are sustainability ratings worth the effort?

Any large company that’s serious in its commitment to corporate responsibility will be familiar with the sustainability-focused questionnaires from customers, investors, analysts and NGOs.

Completing the questionnaires is time consuming, the information they require is often complex and requires a broad level of knowledge and understanding of company-wide business policies, processes and systems. It’s not for the faint-hearted.

Valuable purpose

You also need to develop keen networking skills, not to mention the art of persuasion and as deadlines approach, downright determination to get the information you need from colleagues around the business. That said, in the main, I do truly believe they serve a valuable purpose which more than compensates for the time invested.

Not only are they effective ways of communicating important information to investors about performance, they also help keep sustainability squarely on the agenda with senior leaders within the business. The evolving nature of the questions also helps to ensure that when it comes to measuring impact, we remain in touch with what matters most to stakeholders and understand what information to capture and track via our reporting systems.

This year we were delighted to see CSC jump 55 points in CR Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens, recognized by PRWeek as one of America’s top three most-important business rankings. How did we do it? Through all of the above, plus a concerted effort to improve our transparency of sustainability data and reporting, aligned for the first time, to GRI G4. Good or bad, feedback from stakeholders, be it in the form of ratings, rankings or other means, always has something to teach us about where to focus our attention and resources.

So, are sustainability ratings worth the effort? Absolutely.

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