20 February 2023

Best market practice for companies to disclose their social sustainability metrics

Clear reporting of an organisation’s social sustainability credentials is vital to ensuring that internal and external stakeholders can understand the impact - positive and negative - an organisation is having on the wider world. 

However, the reporting landscape in relation to social sustainability factors is currently fragmented and has not received the same attention as other areas through, for example, the development of taxonomies.

Instead, social sustainability reporting is governed by a patchwork of legal requirements and voluntary initiatives, without a single framework unifying the different regimes.

New research shines spotlight on existing UK social sustainability metrics that can spearhead further policy and industry action. The study was prepared by global law firm Reed Smith and the Impact Investing Institute provides guidance on the current legislative framework and market best practices for companies to disclose their social sustainability metrics.

If you want to know the mandatory and voluntary reporting obligations and the matching exercise between the legal and voluntary frameworks included in the research, you should read the research. [Access the publication]

Reed Smith LLP, New York | Projects | Gensler

Further policy and industry action

Reed Smith has a significant ESG practice group with nearly 60 transactional, environmental, corporate, regulatory and disputes lawyers from across the firm’s 30 offices, supporting clients across a range of industries in the face of intensifying compliance and stakeholder obligations.

The interdisciplinary team advises clients on all aspects of environmental, social and governance issues. The firm is particularly focused on governance, which is seen as the linchpin for ensuring that clients’ ESG plans, compliance efforts and reporting systems are robust, transparent and ethical while satisfying stakeholders’ expectations for accountability.

Claude Brown, Reed Smith partner and ESG practice co-lead, said: “Sustainability remains a permanent fixture on the corporate agenda but companies still need guidance in navigating this uncertain legislative landscape and so we are proud to have worked with the Impact Investing Institute to create this report. We hope it will provide companies with greater clarity on their current social sustainability reporting obligations and the best disclosure practices in the UK.”

For his part, Joe Dharampal-Hornby, Director of Public Affairs at the Impact Investing Institute, said, "As society faces two major challenges - climate change and social injustice - companies are increasingly committed to contributing to a just and inclusive transition to Net Zero, i.e. a just transition. But sustainability reporting, particularly on social performance, remains uneven and inconsistent across sectors and jurisdictions. Our joint report with Reed Smith sets out the UK landscape of regulation, market-driven initiatives and voluntary codes, which we believe can support both policy and industry progress on social metrics."

Why ESG is a game of risk and reward for a COO - Raconteur

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