By Gabriel Onyango
A sustainability report is published by a company or organization: about the impact of its daily activities on the economy, society and environment in general.
Its importance lies in ensuring organizations consider their impact and show the risks and opportunities they face. It also builds trust between business and other stakeholders such as government, global community etc.
Safaricom recently released its 2017 Sustainability Report and for those hearing this term for the first time you are probably wondering what all the fuss is about.
Well, Safaricom has been releasing them for four consecutive years now; so there has to be at least something worth reading between the lines. Right?
At their inception in the year 2,000, very few if any could have imagined the type of impact, recognition and dominance Safaricom would have. Currently according to their recent report, they have 71.2 per cent market share representing 28.12 million customers and an annual revenue of sh212.9 million.
Why Companies Release Sustainability Reports
In an industry that is extremely competitive, a sustainability report can differentiate you from a competitor and when done consistently becomes a competitive advantage. As it gives an organization the platform to show what they are doing above the rest.
Look at this except from the Safaricom 2017 Sustainability Report.
” In response to the SDG strategy, we have committed to becoming a net zero carbon-emitting company by 2050. As one of the few companies in Africa to have made this commitment.”
Even if you absolutely had no idea what net zero carbon-emission is. In one way or another something about this statement builds an image about the company. Its a narrative that people can remember.
- Builds Reputation
Increasing transparency and reporting positive deeds ranked as the two most important ways to build public trust in a 2011 corporate reputation survey. A sustainability report simply does the same thing. It reports the good things a company does and increases transparency.
For instance, here is another except from Safaricom’s.
“Since the start of the Women in Technology programme in 2013, we have visited 25 colleges/technical campuses and 200 secondary schools and many graduate females have found jobs within Safaricom or with our technology partners.”
If you are a woman and reading this article how does this affect your trust in regards to Safaricom being a place where women in technology are given a chance?
- Increased Efficiency
When you go through the report it is clear that Safaricom went through their day-to-day company activities with a fine toothed a comb to discover the smallest of details about their operations. For instance in the report.
“We consumed more electricity and water during the year, but less fuel. Our fuel consumption (diesel and petrol) decreased by 2.7 per cent to 9,446,251 litres. The reduction in fuel consumption is due to a decrease in generator running time, which is the result of several energy-efficiency initiatives, including the installation of Low Voltage Auto-Phase Selectors and 600Ah cyclic batteries at sites.”
To have this level of awareness a lot of effort has gone into collection of data and this data can be used by all stakeholders in decision making to increase efficiency of the company and reduce wastage.
A sustainability report goes beyond publicity and turns into an arsenal of information that can be used to run a company like a well-oiled corporate machine.
Hopefully we can now read the report with a deeper understanding of the type of thinking that goes behind putting together and releasing such a document.