Survey: Reporting admin distracting corporate sustainability leaders from more impactful work

This is a headline finding from a survey of 500 sustainability decision-makers at organisations in the UK, commissioned by facilities management giant Mitie.

The majority of those polled (55%) agree that there is too much admin involved in producing sustainability reports and pulling together other disclosure documents to ensure compliance with key regulations.

Internal reporting was also highlighted as a major burden. Two-thirds of respondents said they are responsible for presenting sustainability data to the board at least every quarter.

More than a third (37%) of respondents said they are actively looking to outsource reporting and disclosures to gain back more time. Eight in ten have already invested in digital solutions in a bid to simplify carbon reporting.

Several sustainability leaders said it is a “waste of time” for them to be leading on the reporting. The majority (70%) said that the fact that time and money are going towards reporting is directly impacting their ability to deliver impactful programmes to cut carbon and achieve other environmental targets.

When asked where they would prefer to allocate the time and resources that could be gained back from outsourcing reporting admin, opinion was mixed. Priorities ranged from developing credible net-zero transition plans, to investing in nature-based projects, to partnering with charitable organisations for community initiatives.

Mitie’s head of data science and energy services, Catherine Wheatley, said that environmental data plays a “pivotal tole in shaping business strategy”, but acknowledged that excessive reporting has “inadvertently become a burden”.

Wheatley said: “Our findings show that the time and resources dedicated to reporting are leading to a decarbonisation delay as time is spent on admin and problem solving rather than action and adding value to their organisation as intended.”

A previous survey from Mitie found that fewer than one-fifth of sustainability professionals believe their existing approaches to reporting are effective.

In this poll, four in ten said that a proliferation of different disclosure schemes – some mandatory, and some voluntary – has caused confusion about which information must be disclosed in which formats.

Related feature: Are sustainability professionals stuck in reporting mode?

Related news: Expert taskforce convened to oversee UK’s adoption of ISSB standards

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  1. Richard Phillips says:


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