The sustainability report - greenwashing or game-changer?

What the sustainability reporting law tells us about the future:

Can a sustainability report really make a difference - or will it just succeed in making bad practices seem better? This topic is discussed globally and is currently heavily debated in Sweden, as new European and Swedish law will impose more than 2000 Swedish companies to publish sustainability reports each year. 

The short answer to this question is that many sustainability reports will be greenwashing and nothing else –simply because it is the easy way to go. But will greenwashing be a viable option long-term? Is there a reason to take sustainability reporting seriously?

At Sustainable Brand Insight it is our job to analyze the future of business, and I will here share with you our three top reasons for why the sustainable company will not be an option tomorrow, but an imperative.

  1. Regulation on sustainability issues is on the rise globally, with Sweden’s new law on sustainability reporting being just the tip of the iceberg. Sustainability regulation will continue to rise as world leaders try to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG:s) and combat climate change with new policies.
  2. As Sustainable Brand Index finds, the demand from consumers on sustainability is continuously rising, meaning that the companies will have to supply to this demand - or lose customers.
  3. As we live in a society where information sharing is instant this means that it becomes increasingly difficult to hide the truth for too long (as the Volkswagen scandal recently made clear). Doing your best and being transparent about the challenges you face is therefore vital for your reputation as well as your risk-management.

With this development in mind, being a transparent company that sets concrete sustainability goals in line with the SDG:s is not going to be a choice - it is going to be vital for your survival. I therefore advice you: make your sustainability report matter - and reap the fruits of your hard labor tomorrow.

Erik Heden

XXX, 11 Gamla Brogatan, Stockholm, Stockholms län, 11120, Sweden