Sustainable Waterloo Region has been busy this year, ushering in new members, launching a new program, and hosting events throughout the year. The last event for 2016 was held this month at Waterloo North Hydro and focused on the topic of reporting. Three speakers from Kuntz Electroplating, Kindred Credit Union, and the University of Waterloo, spoke about how they tackled reporting within their organization and some of the challenges that present themselves. Here are some highlights to keep in mind.

First and foremost, reporting has become a compliance requirement in order to fulfill government regulations; one example being that certain data must be published on an organization’s website. In order to fulfill this requirement, keeping detailed and organized statistics (for example, carbon emissions) makes the mandatory reporting easier.

Having figures on hand can be useful for clients who request this information. At Kuntz Electroplating, they are able to provide statistics to their clients on how much carbon is utilized in making their motorcycle parts.  Habitual reporting also allows you to identify data gaps and ultimately help in building stronger reports, as well as highlight areas that could be benefited by more sustainable action. The University of Waterloo also noted that reporting helps in displaying the value in some of the projects they undertake, as measurements such as emissions reduced and dollars saved are statistics that are easily understood by a wider audience. Reporting was also highlighted by Kindred Credit Union as a means to strengthen their sustainability stance as a banking institution that has strong ties to their faith and community.

There are challenges that come with reporting – not all the data can be cohesively compiled into a report easily, and there can be difficulty in aggregating the data. Clients, while interested in the figures for their own use, may be requesting data with varying levels of detail. Reporting can also be challenging with institutions as large as a university, where buildings operate independently of each other. However, reporting allows you to see a trend in your activity, which is valuable in order to understand your organization. Having the data available to your employees is also an added incentive, for it can create a positive morale and environment, knowing that your organization is prioritizing sustainable action.

So, for the new year 2017, these are some thoughts to keep in mind, and angles to consider when reporting is done for your organization. Happy Holidays, and here’s to a new year of improving our sustainability action!