Happy Corporate Reporting Season to all! It’s that time of year again – data is being collected, narrative is being developed, and internal champions are coming to the table, all on a mission to share your company’s sustainability story with your stakeholders.

You may be the keeper of the CDP questionnaire, or the EHS manager who is receiving requests for a year’s worth of metrics by the end of the month. Perhaps you’ve just received your first CDP Supply Chain questionnaire and are trying to figure out if, and how, your company will respond this year. Our Antea Group reporting team wants to help you have a happy reporting season, and we’ve created a Sustainability Reporting Stress Meter to help you organize your thoughts around this year’s disclosures and offer a helping hand to get you over the hump and to the finish line.

Choose your state of mind from the list below, and read on for our expert advice…

I’m Feeling Panicked.

Overwhelmed, scrambling, trying to get it all done while still completing your “day job” tasks – corporate reporting season can certainly lead to panic. But no worries-- there are resources out there to help you. If you are new to the CDP disclosure, CDP offers several web-based trainings and guidance documents to walk you through the response process and provide detailed instructions on how to complete the disclosure. Take advantage of the “for more information, contact” resources that are provided in your invitation to respond to questionnaires or reporting frameworks.

Asking good questions can help reduce the reporting burden by clarifying what is required, and what is “nice to have” in a disclosure. Antea Group can help! Our team can step in to help you through the reporting process – from completing a “readiness review” to map out your first CDP response; to helping you through the steps of the CDP response process (data collection, narrative development, interviews of key internal champions, upload to the online reporting system, etc.).

I Want Some Peace of Mind.

You’re not in a panic mode, but are still feeling some anxiety over creeping deadlines and inconvenient “out of office” messages from your information sources. You know that you’re on the right path, but maybe you have a few questions about how to answer a certain section of the CDP Water questionnaire, or are having some trouble filling data or narrative gaps to complete your disclosure. Remember that providing some answer is better than no answer – if you are able to provide a partial response, or an affirmative statement that explains that you do not have information this year but have plans for future development and disclosure, it will be more meaningful for your stakeholders than skipping a question requirement or leaving blanks.

If you need some extra support, our team has experience in helping companies fill gaps through data collection support and interviews, providing “on call” support for interpreting disclosure requirements and optimizing responses, and supporting narrative preparation or review. Our team can also prepare a benchmarking review to map your responses beside similar responses from peers. We can take some of the weight off of your shoulders at any point in the reporting process.

We are Making Progress, But Not Confident How We will Be Scored.

Whew – you’re almost there! Your disclosures are in good shape and now you’re just putting on the finishing touches. This is a good time to ensure your disclosure is complete. It can be easy to overlook a blank cell if you’ve been spending four months staring at a questionnaire form, so make sure there is time for a “second set of eyes” review before you click SUBMIT. Make the time to share the disclosure internally with a colleague who can complete a thorough review. Many of our clients have traditionally designated a member of the Communications or Legal team to review for clarity, consistency with other external messaging, and comparison with the requirements of the reporting framework or disclosure. Remember that once your story is out there, it is out there for everyone to see, and a partial description or blank row can send the wrong message if not properly explained.

To that end, our Dream Team of sustainability reporting experts has developed a CDP gap assessment review and scoring optimization process to serve as that second set of eyes– a process that usually takes about two days to turn around, so we can certainly help out in a pinch! This service extends to other disclosures, questionnaires, and reporting standards as well - we’re always happy to take a second look and provide insights on how to optimize your sustainability story.

We’re Feeling Prepared, its Smooth Sailing from Here.

You’re way ahead of the game and ready to submit and/or publish your disclosures. Maybe you’ve gone through this process for years and have an effective approach in place to meet the deadline (congratulations, you’re an all-star!). Or your team was able to beat deadlines and you’re finished ahead of time, and have some breathing room before the submittal deadline. Either way, you have an opportunity to take a second look at your disclosure and start thinking about how you might optimize your story, either this year through finishing touches, or in preparation for next year’s process. (Remember that sometimes a bit more detail can go a long way in telling your sustainability story.)

Antea Group can still help! We can provide insight on how to build upon your story by further developing your strategy – for example, several of our clients have been starting to think more about science-based targets, alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, supply chain engagement, and water risk assessments across the value chain.

For more information on how Antea Group can support your reporting efforts, not matter what their status, please contact us today.

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