Q&A / SUSTAINABILITY

”Accelerating this transition to responsible, sustainable business is where we can make the biggest long-term impact”

FRIDA EMILSSON
On how organizations’ sustainability reporting can create a better world
April 26, 2021

Worldfavor was founded five years ago based on the idea that every person and business can make a difference by being able to make truly sustainable decisions, tells Emilsson, co-founder and COO.

— Me, and my co-founders, Andreas Liljendahl, Lars Peter Eriksson, and Pär Gustafsson, came to the conclusion that this was only possible if businesses’ sustainability information was easily accessible and comparable. Our vision is to become the de-facto platform for accessing and sharing sustainability data and making informed decisions.

The platform connects organizations, suppliers, and stakeholders around the world to enable them to make sustainable decisions throughout their entire value chain. Benefits for companies include avoiding manual spreadsheets and legacy software, saving time, gaining better insights, and improving efficiency. 

— We’re here to accelerate transparency and empower sustainable decisions for businesses and individuals, working hard each day to make sustainability mainstream and shape a future where people, planet, and the economy thrive together, says Emilsson, continuing,

— My main passion is to make sustainable decisions accessible to every person and business. I am thrilled to get out of bed each morning and strive to, one day at the time, creating a long-lasting, positive impact on a big scale. When I realized that businesses have such an enormous impact on people and the planet — both exponentially positive effects, but also negative — I understood that accelerating this transition to responsible, sustainable business and sustainable decisions was where I could make the biggest long-term impact.

Worldfavor just released their first report, Navigating the Landscape of Sustainability Reporting.

— We asked our extended network to share their experiences and opinions on sustainability reporting and received insightful answers from all over the world. The report offers insights into the current state and challenges when it comes to navigating the sustainability reporting landscape. It was created with the purpose to get a greater understanding and a deeper insight into how companies and organizations report on sustainability.

Why is it important for companies to work with or improve their sustainability reporting?

— Since it’s (the reporting, Ed’s note) rocketed over the past few years, I think it’s extremely important to examine what organizations recognize as their biggest challenges. There is probably still a big gap between current and ideal reporting processes.

Are bigger companies better on this than smaller ones?

— It’s a great question, and a bit complex to answer. I wouldn’t say that ”the bigger the better” applies when it comes to sustainability reporting. It all comes down to the company, the business model, and industry, priorities, and true dedication to sustainability. With that said, I believe that all companies are able to make an impact and focus on their sustainability, regardless of size, says Emilsson.

Who’s your typical client?

— It’s actually also hard to answer since we’re working with a wide variety of clients across different industries. Currently, 20,000 + organizations are using our sustainability platform to drive transparency and sustainability in every step of their value chain. Among our customers are large and well-known Nordic and international brands such as Oatly, Nomad Foods, Swedbank, and Nudie Jeans.

Has the sustainability reporting work become increasingly common and important over the last few years?

— Yes, that’s a fact. New laws and regulations are put into force, and stakeholder demands on sustainability and transparency are higher than ever before. We wanted to investigate the current landscape of sustainability reporting, and that’s how our report came to be. Our mission was to learn more about how companies conduct the yearly report, what processes they have in place, their challenges, and what an ideal reporting process could look like.

Frida Emilsson’s key insights from the report

70% Uses sustainability reporting as a means to increase transparency
1/5 Says that their reporting has been directly affected by the pandemic
6/7 Publish the sustainability report on their own website
30% Are reporting for the very first time
41% Starts their reporting process as soon as last year’s report is finished
58% Have difficulties when it comes to collecting data

The top 3 reasons for sustainability reporting
44% Develop a framework for action
70% Improve transparency and visibility
36% Legal requirements

Five most common challenges when it comes to sustainability reporting
1. Collecting data (57%)
2. Poor data quality (46%)
3. Managing data and gaining insights (41%)
4. Lack of time (36%)
5. Process is too time-consuming (34%)

… and what was specifically challenging this year?
3/5 believe that manual work was the biggest challenge when creating this year’s sustainability report.

1. Manual work (56%)
2. Finding and working with existing information (37%)
3. Lack of the right tools (33%)

What could improve your reporting process?
72% Better integration of processes in the organization
51% Reporting software
28% More knowledge
20% Dedicated employees

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