Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Why produce environmental reports

Why produce an environmental report

Some companies are required to produce regular environmental reports through regulations such as the greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting.

Other organisations choose to produce reports on a voluntary basis that could follow a theme such as:

  • carbon footprinting
  • overall sustainability
  • corporate social responsibility.

A one off, stand-alone environmental report could be useful and interesting, but if it is isolated from other activities it may not achieve a great deal.

Environmental reporting will work best when based on information from your environmental management system. This provides a mechanism for you to make improvements based on the figures produced in your report, and shows your involvement and commitment to collect the data.

What are the benefits?

Producing a regular environmental report will help you to:

  • demonstrate your green credentials to investors, shareholders and stakeholders
  • regularly review your environmental performance increasing awareness of energy and raw materials costs and any cost savings made
  • demonstrate continual improvement.

The environmental reporting process

To produce an environmental report you should:

  • Decide what the report will cover, the whole organisation or just one site?
  • Decide on the time period covered by the report
  • Identify all the key environmental impacts of the business
  • Measure these impacts (eg waste arising, recycling, energy use etc.)
  • Get someone to verify these results and produce the report
  • Identify the audience for your report and make it available, requesting feedback
  • Use the feedback to make future improvements.

Scope

If you have more than one site, division, department or business unit, you could produce one business-wide report or individual reports.

The advantage of individual reports is that they are more easily understood and relate more directly to individual managers and - in the case of site-based reports - to local communities. Individual reports can then be consolidated into business-wide figures for a broader audience.

Getting outside help

Think about whether outside help could be useful, especially if environmental reporting is new to you. Consultants can help you to achieve a balanced approach, produce a report that will be easily understood and advise you on the sort of material that should go into it.

The use of independent third-party assurance statements, such as audit-based verification of your environmental data, adds credibility to your environmental reporting by giving stakeholders confidence that your approach is robust and reliable.

Paper or electronic reports?

Printing can be expensive and has an impact on the environment. You could make the document available electronically, or hold it electronically and print it on demand for interested stakeholders.

Examples of environmental reports

Edinburgh Airport

Macsween's

SEPA

Further information

GOV.UK: Measuring and reporting environmental impacts

Global Reporting Initiative: The Reporting Hub

International Federation of Accountants: Environmental Management Accounting

In this Guideline

Introduction - What is an EMS?

What are the benefits of an EMS and what is involved?

Types of Environmental Management Systems

How can NetRegs help you implement an EMS?

Implementing an EMS – getting started

Why produce environmental reports

EMS Case study - CMS Window Systems

EMS Case Study - Ross-Shire Engineering

Manage your purchases to minimise their environmental impacts

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms