The theme of a Sustainability Report says a lot of about a company. It offers a clue about how the company positions sustainability externally and internally. It also signals how the company wants you, the reader, to review the contents.
Each autumn, the UPS sustainability report team extensively discusses the year’s strengths and weaknesses and begins to evaluate how that year is different from previous ones. How has the company’s sustainability program and commitments evolved? What are the gaps that were addressed? What is going on the marketplace that could affect the way our sustainability report contents will be judged?
Last year, we chose Sustainability is…? as a theme because many of our employees and customers were still struggling with the term sustainability and how it connected with our business. Much of our content was providing a definitional guide to readers about how UPS viewed sustainability—incorporating social, environmental and economic aspects.
This year, we chose the theme More of What Matters. The theme represents not only our growing actions and commitments, but also a shift in our mindset.
One of the criticisms we have had about our previous reports was its length and breadth. Many readers have commented that they were overwhelmed by the data, charts and graphs. But we also recognized that “technical” readers of the report sought that kind of detail and international standards were requiring even more information than previous years.
Our solution: A succinct introductory chapter that highlights the key take-aways in yellow. And colorful infographics make it easy to see the big picture. The back of the book still features the technical detail that those readers crave.
More of What Matters captures how UPS is systematically using its access to vast data and resources to positively impact communities, environment and workplace.
A good example of this approach is a “materiality matrix” in the report that used feedback from NGOs, socially-responsible investors, customers, external surveys, and senior management. The feedback discerned what issues matter the most to them in terms of UPS’s commitment to the business overlaid with its responsibility to the world. This report, for the first time, shows our actions that addressed top matrix issues.
This approach aligns with the Global Reporting Initiative. This international sustainability reporting organization just released new guidelines that embrace a more focused approached to corporate responsibility. The new guidelines use “materiality” as the cornerstone and encourage companies to more deeply understand what matters the most in terms of their social and environmental impacts.
One area that we somewhat neglected over the years is our economic impact. This year’s report includes our direct and indirect economic contributions, the economic value of our in-kind and humanitarian logistics contributions and a letter from our CFO about the economic value of sustainability. We talk about the economic advantages of world trade and feature one of our fastest-growing segments, healthcare logistics. We also have customer statements about how we are working with them to make a difference.
The bottom line is that fiscal success makes it possible for us to do More of What Matters. This report cites it all. Find it at ups.com/sustainability.
|Category:||Community, Environment, Sustainability|
|Tags:||community, Environment, Global Reporting Initiative, GRI, sustainability, sustainability report, workplace|