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Canadian

Corporate
Sustainability
Reporting
Best
Practices
2008
About Stratos
Stratos is one of Canada’s leading
sustainability consultancies. National
and international clients rely
on Stratos for forward-looking,
strategic analysis and advice.
Stratos' success is built on
expertise in corporate sustainability,
public sector management and
assurance.

Our Vision: A world where


decision-makers at all levels
integrate sustainability into their
actions to improve ecological and
human well-being.

Our Mission: We provide


business, governments and
organizations with expert advice,
information and tools that assist the
development and implementation of
more sustainable policies and
practices.

Study
Sponsors
This study was made possible
through the financial support of
Natural Resources Ressources naturelles
organizations dedicated to Canada Canada
improving sustainability reporting
practices. We express sincere
thanks to our sponsors.

Stratos is a carbon-neutral company Reproduction and dissemination of this report is This survey does not assess corporate performance,
through the Tree Canada Foundation encouraged with credit; quotation from this report but rather assesses how companies report on their
program. is permissible with citation. sustainability practices. It is our experience that greater
ISBN 978-0-9689895-3-1 Stratos Inc. is wholly responsible for the content of this public disclosure of sustainability information enables
report and the associated technical documentation. stakeholders to use this information to inform their
Copyright 2008 Stratos Inc. decisions. Project sponsors had no input in the
Design by www.astartecreative.com assessments or analysis.
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Table of Contents

Executive Summary ......................................................2

About This Report..........................................................3

Methodology..................................................................3

Trends in Corporate Sustainability


Reporting in Canada......................................................4

Overall Findings ............................................................6

Detailed Results by Category


Context and Coverage ..................................................8
Leadership and Direction ............................................10
Policies, Organization and Management Systems ................12
Stakeholder Relations ................................................14
Environmental Performance ..........................................16
Economic Performance ..............................................18
Social Performance ..................................................20
Integrated Performance ..............................................22
Extending Influence Upstream and Downstream ..................24
Quality, Credibility and Communications ............................26

Emerging Issues and Best Practices


in Report Strategy and Content
Report Strategy ........................................................28
Report Content ........................................................32

Conclusion ..................................................................35
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Executive Summary

Best Practices in Canadian Corporate Initiative’s (GRI) G3 Guidelines, climate change, content maps being particularly useful.
Sustainability Reporting is Stratos’ and Aboriginal relations. As we look ahead at the We expect use of the Guidelines to
fourth review of corporate sustain- changes to the sustainability reporting landscape increase and encourage companies to
ability reporting in Canada. This study in Canada, we encourage corporate sustainabil- determine their approach to applying
examines the state of corporate ity reporting practitioners to get ready and get the GRI based on a sound assessment
sustainability reporting in Canada, and serious about tackling these issues in a more of the business case.
takes an in-depth look at sustain- substantive way:
ability reporting by seven leading
companies with a view to identifying
best reporting practices. The seven Reporting on Aboriginal
companies included in this study have Materiality, a work in progress: relations is critical in Canada:
consistently ranked in the top 10 of There are signs that leading Canadian More than half of Canadian
Stratos’ previous benchmark surveys. companies are grappling with the sustainability reporters (51%) discuss
The sustainability reporting field concept and implications of materiality Aboriginal relations, highlighting the
in Canada is entering a period of sustainability information. Our seven importance of the issue to Canadian
of change. The disclosure of leading reporters hint at formal corporations. Reporting on Aboriginal
sustainability information by compa- processes, but none provide sufficient relations among leading companies
nies on the Toronto Stock detail to allow the reader to fully encompasses corporate approaches
Exchange (TSX) Composite Index is understand the rigour of their internal and performance on engagement and
now common practice, with 80% systems to identify material sustain- relationships, economic development
including some environmental or ability issues. Over the coming year we and Aboriginal rights.
social information in their annual or expect processes to become formal-
stand-alone sustainability reports, up ized and as a result, reports to become
from 70% in 2005. Meanwhile, the shorter and more focused.
growth in stand-alone sustainability Climate change reporting gets
reports is slowing, with the number of serious: Reporting on corporate
sustainability reporters down 5% from activities to address climate change
2005. Nonetheless there is an ongo- impacts is starting to take off, with the
ing transformation in the discipline topic mentioned in 84% of company
with the rapid development of sus- sustainability reports. Among our seven
tainability reporting systems and more leading companies climate change
rigorous tools and reporting frame- reporting is becoming more sophisti-
works. This suggests that companies cated, reflecting the maturity of
are investing to gain from the business company strategies to address the
value they are finding in reporting and issue. We expect disclosure on the
to respond to more sophisticated corporate response to climate change
stakeholder expectations to improve to continue to grow in sophistication
the quality of reporting. with issues including governance and
Against this backdrop we find that product performance getting increased
leading companies are innovating with attention.
best reporting practices on a number Use of the GRI Guidelines hits
of fronts. We identify examples of critical mass: Forty-five percent of
excellence in reporting including Canadian sustainability reporters now
long-term goal setting (page 10), make use of the GRI Guidelines either
stakeholder engagement (page 14), as a general guide or through adher-
environmental performance (page 16), ence to its requirements. However, to
and Aboriginal engagement (page 20). date only 6% of reporters have adopted
We also look in more detail at four the new G3 version. Companies are
priority areas for corporate reporters: innovating to signpost readers to GRI
materiality, the Global Reporting content, with the use of hyperlinked GRI

2
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

About this Report/Methodology

Reports were assessed against detailed


About this Categories guidance for each criterion and assigned a rating
of 0-3 for each, with a total of 138 points
Report Category 1 Context and Coverage available. The methodology and criteria were
updated to reflect new reporting requirements in
Corporate sustainability reporting is a Category 2 Leadership and Direction the Global Reporting Initiative’s G3 Guidelines.
dynamic and fast moving field. In
Category 3 Policies, Organization and The most significant change in the methodology
Canada, best practice is evolving
Management Systems is the application of the concept of materiality,
quickly with companies simultane-
Category 4 Stakeholder Relations which requires that companies report on the
ously seeking to innovate and refresh
issues that are most significant to them in terms
reporting approaches and meet ex- Category 5 Environmental of their business impact and the degree of
pectations for greater standardization. Performance stakeholder interest. The updated methodology
Best Practices in Canadian Corporate
Category 6 Economic Performance and criteria remain comparable to our 2003 and
Sustainability Reporting is Stratos’
Category 7 Social Performance 2005 benchmark surveys. However, due to this
fourth review of corporate sustainabil-
year’s smaller sample size, we have not
ity reporting in Canada. It presents Category 8 Integrated Performance compared 2007 performance with performance
the results of research on the uptake
Category 9 Extending Influence in previous years. Our focus in this report is to
of and approaches to sustainability re-
Upstream and Downstream highlight best practice.
porting in Canada and presents our
review of sustainability reporting at Category 10 Quality, Credibility
seven leading Canadian companies, and Communications
including the results of our detailed re-
port assessments and examples of
best practice reporting. This study Rating System
does not look at sustainability per-
formance specifically, but rather at 0 No meaningful information is provided
How We Chose Reporters
how companies report on their sus- on the specific criterion.
We invited companies to participate in this
tainability performance and practices,
with a view to identifying examples of 1 Patchy information is provided. The study based on their demonstrated leader-
company is beginning to report on in- ship in sustainability reporting, as evidenced
best practice.
formation related to this criterion, but by their rank in our previous benchmark
This study also explores approaches gaps exist, and the information is not studies, as well as through our extensive
to four top-of-mind reporting issues – comprehensive. knowledge of sustainability reporters in
materiality, the Global Reporting Initia- Canada. We invited companies from a range
tive, climate change, and Aboriginal 2 The report provides good information of sectors. Companies that agreed to
relations. on the criterion. However, important participate provided financial support, but
issue areas or key performance indica- had no input in the assessment or analysis.
Methodology tors may not be adequately addressed.
The company may not be reporting on
The methodology used for this study its entire operations as identified within
was similar to that used in previous the report; or it may not present three
benchmark surveys. This methodol- years of data and/or future targets in this
ogy assesses the issue coverage and area (for performance related criteria).
quality of information presented in
corporate sustainability reports
3 The report provides full coverage
of the criterion. For performance
against ten categories of information
criteria, it covers preceding periods and
that we would expect to form part of
future targets, and provides
corporate sustainability disclosure.
an analysis or explanation of
Collectively, these categories com-
performance trends.
prise 46 criteria.

Please refer to our last detailed benchmark survey, Gaining Momentum, page 5 and Appendix 1 (page 37),
for the list of criteria assessed in each category: www.stratos-sts.com.

3
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Trends

Every year more companies take their first leap


Trends in Corporate into corporate sustainability reporting. Since Trends at a Glance
Sustainability 2001, the number of corporate sustainability
reporters in Canada has increased from 57 to
Canadian Sustainability Reporters

Reporting in

4
108.3 Over the same time period, the percent of 120

11

8
10
0
10
TSX companies that produce sustainability 100

Canada reports increased from 10% to 18%. 80

57
60
Over the past 15 years we have seen In more recent years we have seen a slight dip in 40
tremendous growth and improvement Canadian corporate sustainability reporting, with 20
in corporate sustainability reporting. a 5% decrease in the number of reporters 0
In 1993, less than one percent of between 2005 and 2007 (from 114 to 108), and 2001 2003 2005 2007

large Canadian corporations were a decrease in the number of TSX companies


producing stand-alone sustainability reports (from Percent of TSX Composite Index Producing
committed to public environmental Sustainability Reports
reporting.1 Today, corporate sustain- 25% in 2005 to 18% in 2007). This is set against

%
25
the steady increase in the number of TSX

%
ability reporting is a core element of 25%

22

%
companies including at least some sustainability

18
business strategy at 47 of the 265 20%
companies on the TSX Composite information in their annual reports or in a stand- 15%

%
alone report from 70% in 2005 to 80% in 2007,

10
Index.2 10%
up from 35% in 2001. 5%
0
2001 2003 2005 2007
The term “sustainability report”
includes reports that provide information Global Reporting Percent of TSX Composite Index Disclosing
Sustainability Information in Public Reports
on a company’s management and
performance related to one or more
Initiative 90%

%
80
aspects of sustainability beyond Forty-five percent of Canadian sustainability 80%

%
70
financial performance. For the reporters used the GRI Guidelines in 2007, up 70%
%
60

purpose of this study, this term from 35% in 2005. While the majority of compa- 60%
encompasses environmental, social, nies using the GRI are still using the 2002 Guide- 50%
%

community, corporate responsibility, lines (over 85%), there are signs of uptake in use 40%
35

sustainability, or corporate social of the G3 Guidelines released in late 2006, which 30%
responsibility reports, along with annual 20%
are actively used by seven companies. Of the
reports that include five or more pages seven Canadian sustainability reports that were 10%
of environmental and/or social informa- assessed as part of this study, six referenced the 0
tion, including performance data. use of the GRI or reported in accordance with the 2001 2003 2005 2007

This study focuses on “Canadian Guidelines. We take a more detailed look at


Percent of Canadian Reporters Using GRI
reporters”, defined as Canadian approaches to using the GRI Sustainability
%

Reporting Guidelines on page 30. 50%


companies with or without Canadian
45
%

40%
operations that produce sustainability
35
%

30%
reports, or international companies with
25

20%
operations in Canada that report on
10%
7%

these operations in their sustainability


0
reports, including Canadian-specific 2001 2003 2005 2007
performance data.
Percent of Canadian Reporters Using Assurance
%

20%
18

1
%

15

http://www.nrtee-trnee.ca/eng/publications/working-paper-series/working-paper-17-eng.PDF 15%
13

2
9%

TSX Composite listed companies identified as of August 30, 2007. 10%


3
In order to identify Canada’s sustainability reporters, Stratos looked at the websites of 379 companies drawn 5%
from lists such as the TSX Composite Index, Report on Business Magazine’s top 100 companies by revenue and
0
top crown corporations, winners of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) corporate reporting
2001 2003 2005 2007
awards (sustainable development category), and Corporate Knight’s 2007 Best 50 Corporate Citizens.

4
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Trends

Of the 379 companies that we reviewed for


Assurance sustainability information, 34% discuss climate
change in their sustainability and/or annual
The use of assurance in sustainability reports; of these companies, 67% provide Climate Change:
reporting continues to be a dynamic supporting performance data. Similarly on Sustainability Reporters
area. We see a slight dip in the use of Aboriginal relations, 22% discuss the issue; of
assurance with 15% of Canadian these companies, 37% provide supporting
companies assuring their reports in performance data. Total number of sustainability
comparison to 18% two years ago. reporters:108 (100%)
The mix of assurance approaches When we look more closely at Canadian sustain- Reporters discussing climate
used by Canadian companies is ability reporters, Aboriginal relations and climate change in their sustainability
shifting, with heavier reliance placed change are clearly material issues. Climate reports: 91 (84%)
on internal assurance and stake- change is covered in 84% of sustainability Of the reporters discussing
holder-led processes, with the latter reports, and 86% of these reports include climate change in their
now used in 50% of assured reports. supporting data, suggesting that systems to sustainability reports, those
track and report on climate change performance providing data: 78 (86%)
Third-party auditing of reports contin- are becoming well developed.
ues to be the approach of choice with
over 80% of assured reports using Aboriginal relations is covered by 51% of
this approach. The big four audit firms sustainability reports, and 44% of these reports
are starting to dominate with more include supporting data such as Aboriginal Climate Change:
than half of companies who choose employment or spending on procurement with Annual Reports of Sustainability
Reporters
third-party auditing engaging a big Aboriginal businesses.
four firm.
Reporting on these issues is lower if we consider
Total number of sustainability
coverage strictly within the annual reports of reporters:108 (100%)
Who Assures sustainability reporters, with 35% of sustainability
Reporters discussing climate
reporters covering climate change (45% of which change in their annual reports:
13% Internal Audit provide data) and 20% covering Aboriginal 38 (35%)
relations (27% of which provide data) in their
44% Big Four Audit Firms annual reports. The relatively widespread cover- Of the reporters discussing climate
age of climate change in annual reports suggests change in their annual reports,
38% Non-big Four Audit Firms a growing recognition that climate risks are those providing data: 17 (45%)
material to business performance.
50% Stakeholder Groups

Reporting on Aboriginal Relations: Aboriginal Relations:


Annual Reports of Sustainability
Key Issues Sustainability Reporters
Reporters

Two key issues rank high in the minds Total number of sustainability
reporters:108 (100%)
of Canadian companies – climate Total number of sustainability
change and Aboriginal relations. We Reporters discussing Aboriginal reporters:108 (100%)
have tracked which companies report relations in their sustainability
reports: 55 (51%) Reporters discussing
on these issues in their annual or
Aboriginal relations in their
sustainability reports, and which Of the reporters discussing
Aboriginal relations in their annual reports: 22 (20%)
companies provide performance data.
sustainability reports, those Of the reporters discussing
providing data: 24 (44%) Aboriginal relations in their
annual reports, those
providing data: 6 (27%)

5
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Overall Findings

The seven companies assessed in the Of the four performance categories –


study are recognized sustainability Environmental, Economic, Social and
reporting leaders, having all scored in Integrated – Economic Performance is Leading Reporters
the top 10 in previous Stratos
benchmark surveys. The top mark
particularly strong, reflecting the success of
corporate efforts in reporting on socio-economic
Assessed in the Study
achieved by a company assessed in impact.
the benchmarking component of this BC Hydro
study was 78% with all companies
scoring over 58%. The quality of
Enbridge
reporting among these seven report- Drilling down to specific
ing leaders is high, with just five points
separating the top three and only a 28
criteria, some interesting Suncor
point spread across all companies. findings emerge:
> The quality of reporting on corporate Syncrude
The reports of these seven leading
sustainability vision and the links to
companies are generally strong
corporate goals and priorities is good,
in describing the context for their TELUS
hinting at better integration of sustainabil-
operations and the sustainability
ity in business planning.
challenges and opportunities they
face (Context and Coverage and > Strong reporting of health and safety TransAlta
Leadership and Direction). Reporting performance highlights the maturity of
on Environmental Performance and management approaches in this area. Vancity
Economic Performance is also
> Weaker reporting on water and material
strong, and reporters use sophisti-
inputs suggests that there is still work
cated approaches to communication
to be done on some aspects of
and ensuring the credibility of the
environmental reporting.
information presented (Quality,
Credibility and Communications). > Reporting on the influence of companies
The quality of reporting on stakeholder on sustainability performance in their
engagement (Stakeholder Relations) value chain is limited, offering potential
is far more mixed. Reporting on differentiation for companies who cover
influence on sustainability perform- this area systematically.
ance in the corporate value chain
(Influence Up and Downstream) is a
particular weakness in a number of
reports.

6
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Overall Findings

Top Five Criteria (Category)


Company Profile (Context and Coverage)

Corporate Vision (Leadership and Direction)

Key Financials (Economic Performance)

Community Development (Economic Performance)

Health and Safety (Social Performance)

Bottom Five Criteria (Category)

Water and Material Inputs (Environmental Performance)

Human Rights (Social Performance)

Business Ethics and Integrity (Social Performance)

Supply Chain Management (Influence Upstream and Downstream)

Customer/Consumers (Influence Upstream and Downstream)

Maximum, Minimum and Average Scores by Category

100%

90%

80%

70%
Average Score as %

60% Study Average

50%
Maximum Score
40%

30% Minimum Score

20%

10%

0%
1. Context &
Coverage (2)

2. Leadership &
Direction (3)

3. Policies, Organization
& Mgmt Systems (8)

4. Stakeholder
Relations (2)

5. Environmental
Performance (7)

6. Economic
Performance (7)

7. Social
Performance (7)

8. Integrated
Performance (4)

9. Influence
Up & Downstream (3)

10. Quality, Credibility


& Communications (3)

Category (Number of Criteria)

7
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Detailed Results by Category


Category 1
Context and Coverage
the report profile – which assesses disclosure on Category 1: Context and Coverage
Top Scores: the approach to setting geographic, organiza-
tional, temporal and issue coverage of the report

%
100%
BC Hydro, Enbridge, – is lower (67%). None of the reports fully identify

95
90%
the process for determining report content, with
Suncor, TELUS, few of the companies providing clarity on their
80%

%
Average Score as %
70%
TransAlta, Vancity

67
issue priorities, a topic we examine in more detail
60%
on page 28.
This category measures the 50%

degree to which the report


informs the reader about what
Best Practices 40%
30%
20%
the company does, the scope > Suncor provides a good schematic diagram
10%
and description of the company’s operations.
and scale of its operations, and 0%
> Vancity clearly communicates its organiza-

1.1 Company
Profile

1.2 Report
Profile
the scope and materiality of
tional structure and the different companies
issues in the report. that make up the group.
All of the companies score highly on
Context and Coverage, and six
companies share the top spot. These
reporters are adept at describing
their business and the
sustainability issues they face (with an
average score of 95% on company
profile) while scoring on the quality of

Source: Suncor 2007 Report on Sustainability, foldout.

8
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Results by Category

Source: Vancity 2004-05 Accountability Report, p. 4.

9
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Detailed Results by Category


Category 2
Leadership and Direction
Category 2: Leadership and Direction
Top Scores: Best Practices
> BC Hydro presents the company’s five core
BC Hydro, TransAlta values, as well as 15 long-term goals that will
100%

%
90%

86
81
The three criteria in this guide the business over the next 20 years,

%
80%

76
including progressive commitments related to

Average Score as %
category measure how well safety, environmental impact, and electricity
70%
60%
the report describes the signif- conservation and efficiency. 50%
icant challenges and opportu- > Suncor clearly articulates the company’s 40%
nities related to sustainability vision and strategy to become a sustainable 30%
that the organization faces, energy company, including presenting 20%
how it plans to address these a strategic framework to achieve this goal. 10%
0%
challenges and capitalize on > TransAlta’s CEO statement includes a

2.1 CEO
Statement

2.2 Corporate
Vision

2.3 External
Trends
these opportunities, and how it compelling discussion of climate change
intends to position itself in the – a key issue for the company.
future.
Overall performance on Leadership
and Direction is strong, with an
average score of 81%. Performance
is strongest on corporate vision at
86%, with the seven leading
companies doing a good job
describing their corporate vision and
how it integrates economic, environ-
mental and social performance.

Source: Suncor 2007 Report on Sustainability, p. 8.


10
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Results by Category

Source: 2007 BC Hydro Annual Report, p. 123.

11
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Detailed Results by Category


Category 3
Policies, Organization and Management Systems

Top Score: Best Practices


> BC Hydro discusses the company’s Triple
Enbridge Bottom Line Project, undertaken to develop
a framework and tools to help ensure more
This category assesses the consistent and effective TBL decision-making.
quality of reporting on the > Enbridge presents a CSR integration case
company’s relevant sustain- study on their Waupisoo pipeline, demonstrat-
ability policies, procedures, ing how the company puts CSR into practice.
management systems and > Suncor highlights their public policy direction
decision-making structures. and positions for six key issues, including
climate change and labour shortages.
Reporting on Policies, Organization
and Management Systems is > Vancity discloses the members of its execu-
variable across the eight criteria. tive team that are held accountable for each
Reporting on environmental target related to sustainability performance.
management systems (EMSs) and
socio-economic management sys- Category 3: Policies, Organization and Management Systems
tems is strong with an average score
of 81% and 76%, respectively, 100%
suggesting maturity in these 90%

%
81

%
management approaches. Reporting 80%

76
%
71

%
Average Score as %

70%
%

on policies and codes of conduct,


67
62
%
%

%
voluntary initiatives, and integration 60%
57
57

57
of triple-bottom line (TBL) considera- 50%
tions into decision-making is weaker 40%

with average scores of 57% for all 30%


three criteria. Low scores on policies 20%

and codes of conduct were often the 10%


result of reports not including enough 0%
3.1 Policies & Codes
of Conduct

3.2 Voluntary
Initiatives

3.3 Public Policy &


Industry Influence

3.4 Governance, Org Structure


& Responsibilities

3.5 Issue/Risk Identification


& Significance

3.6 Environmental
Management System

3.7 Socio-Economic
Management System

3.8 Integration of TBL


into Decision-Making

information on policies. Most often


missing in voluntary initiatives were
discussions of the company’s
involvement in and outcomes of these
initiatives.

Source: Enbridge 2007 Corporate Social


Responsibility Report foldout, p. 13.

12
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Results by Category

Source: Suncor 2007 Report on Sustainability, p. 10.

Source: 2007 BC Hydro Annual Report, p. 56.

13
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Detailed Results by Category


Category 4
Stakeholder Relations
Category 4: Stakeholder Relations
Top Score: Best Practices
100%
Vancity > BC Hydro, Enbridge, Suncor, TELUS and
90%
Vancity seek feedback on their reports from
80%
This category assesses how

%
external stakeholder/expert advisory panels.

71
Average Score as %
70%
well the report describes the

%
> BC Hydro reports on a number of innovative

57
60%
company’s stakeholders, how stakeholder engagement mechanisms, 50%
it solicits their input and how including a Community Advisory Committee to 40%
the company considers their the Board of Directors, and an Electricity 30%
Conservation and Efficiency Advisory 20%
input in its decision-making Committee that helps generate new ideas to 10%
processes and in determining build a conservation culture in B.C. 0%
the content of its report.

4.1 Stakeholder Identification


& Engagement

4.2 Stakeholder Feedback


& How It Is Used
> Vancity and TELUS provide details of the
The results of this category suggest feedback received from stakeholders on their
that while companies are adept at reports, and also communicate how they have
identifying their key stakeholders and responded to this feedback.
the mechanisms used to engage
them (criterion 4.1), there is less
comfort with direct disclosure of
stakeholder feedback and how it is
used to drive improvements and
decision-making (criterion 4.2).

Involving stakeholders in the reporting


The Value of Stakeholder Input process can provide numerous benefits:
There is growing consensus among leading
> Direct feedback on whether the report
reporters in Canada on the value of
meets the information needs of key
stakeholder commentary and feedback on
stakeholders.
reporting, an approach used by five of the
seven leading reporters in our study. > Input to issue identification and
materiality processes.
The approaches to stakeholder involvement
in reporting activities fall into two categories: > Focused recommendations on areas
for improvement.
> Appointment of a stakeholder panel to
provide critical feedback and challenge on > Demonstrates the responsiveness of
report development, some providing an the reporter to stakeholders.
assurance-style statement in the report.
> Assurance for readers that the report
> Stakeholder workshops or feedback meets stakeholder needs.
sessions to provide pre- or post-
publication comment. > Assurance for the reporter that
controversial issues have been identified
and managed to stakeholder satisfaction.

> Improved relationships with key corporate


stakeholders.

14
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Results by Category

Source: Vancity 2004-05 Accountability Report, p. 14.

15
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Detailed Results by Category


Category 5
Environmental Performance

Top Score: Best Practices


> BC Hydro identifies energy savings resulting
Vancity from the use of demand-side management,
This category assesses how and sets future targets.
well the report describes the > Suncor uses benchmarks to compare its GHG,
company’s past and current SOx and NOx performance against that of the
broader industry.
environmental performance.
A report should address all > TELUS compares its water consumption to
domestic water consumption rates and sets a
relevant material and resource future target to improve water monitoring
inputs and environmental out- coverage.
puts; provide trend data; See page 32 for an in-depth discussion of
explain how and why changes reporting on climate change.
have occurred over time; and
describe what level of future Category 5: Environmental Performance
performance the company
commits to achieve. 100%
90%
%

%
%

80%
76

The growing concern over climate

76
%
76

71
%

%
Average Score as %

70%
change was a highlight in these
67

67
%

60%
reports, however, reporting on green-
52

50%
house gas (GHG) emissions scores
40%
slightly lower than other criteria,
30%
reflecting that GHG data and targets
20%
are still a work in progress for some
10%
companies. Reporting on energy
0%
inputs, air emissions and land use,
5.1 Energy Inputs

5.2 Water & Material Inputs

5.3 Solid & Hazardous


Wastes

5.4 Effluent & Spills

5.6 GHG Emissions

5.7 Land Use, Biodiversity,


Habitat & Species
5.5 Air Emissions

biodiversity, habitat and species is


strong at 76%. Environmental
performance reporting is weakest on
water and material inputs, with few
companies providing good data on
their major material inputs.

Source: BC Hydro Service Plan 2007/08 to 2009/10, p. 31.

16
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Results by Category

Source: TELUS 2006 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, p. 62.

Source: Suncor 2007 Report on Sustainability, p. 55.

17
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Detailed Results by Category


Category 6
Economic Performance

Top Score: Best Practices


Suncor > Syncrude provides a range of data on direct
economic contributions, including total annual
This category assesses how economic contributions, expenditures,
well the report describes procurement of goods and services,
the company’s past and cur- cumulative payments to governments, and
rent economic performance, royalty payments.
including both financial per- > Vancity provides a wealth of information on
formance and broader eco- community development including information
nomic contributions to, and on their grants to social enterprises.
impacts on, local and
national economies.
All companies receive top marks for
reporting on key financials with infor-
Category 6: Economic Performance
mation either presented in sustainabil-
0%

ity reports or linked to annual reports.


10

100%

%
Reporting on community develop-

90
90%
%
81

ment is high at 90%, with information 80%


%
%

on financial and in-kind support for

%
Average Score as %

67
67

70%

67
%
62

community development now routine. 60%


Reporting on taxes and royalties is 50%
less developed with data broken 40%

down by taxing authority rare, and few 30%


20%
of the study companies in the extrac-
10%
tive sector reporting on royalty
0%
payments.
6.1 Key Financials

6.2 Investment in
Intellectual Capital

6.3 Employee
Compensation

6.4 Taxes & Royalties

6.5 Direct Economic


Contribution

6.6 Community
Development

6.7 Customer
Satisfaction

18
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Results by Category

Source: Syncrude 2006 Sustainability Report, p. 21.

Source: Vancity 2004-05 Accountability Report, p. 70.

19
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Detailed Results by Category


Category 7
Social Performance

Top Scores: Best Practices


BC Hydro, Suncor > Enbridge discusses its human rights policy
and program in Columbia, which includes
This category assesses how extensive education and awareness training.
well the report describes the > Syncrude produces a review of its approach
company’s past and current and performance on Aboriginal engagement.
social performance, including They use innovative approaches to reporting
human resources and labour activities in this area including interviews with
Aboriginal Youth and include a range of
issues, health and safety,
performance information on employment, edu-
human rights, business ethics cation, business development and leadership.
and relations with Aboriginal
Peoples. See page 34 for an in-depth discussion of
reporting on Aboriginal Relations.
Reporting on Social Performance is
mixed, with sophisticated approaches
in place for health and safety and
human resource management and Category 7: Social Performance
employee relations, but weaker
disclosure on human rights, as well as 100%
%

business ethics and integrity. The very 90%


86
%

low score on human rights (38%) is a 80%


76

%
Average Score as %

70%
67

reflection of the low materiality of


%
%

62
62

60%
%

human rights issues for most of the


52

50%
companies in the study that have only
%
38

40%
Canadian operations. Issues related
30%
to discrimination and harassment are 20%
covered under workplace diversity 10%
and labour rights criteria in our 0%
methodology.
7.1 HR Mgmt & Employee
Relations

7.2 Health & Safety

7.3 Workplace
Diversity

7.4 Labour Rights

7.5 Human Rights

7.6 Business
Ethics & Integrity

7.7 Indigenous Peoples

Reporting on human resource man-


agement and employee relations and
workplace diversity is well established
with the seven leading companies
tracking information on the general
quality of workplace life and the diver-
sity of their workforces. Six of the
seven companies in the study report
on employee surveys or focus groups.

20
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Results by Category

Source: Enbridge 2007 Corporate Social


Responsibility Report, p. 58.

Source: Syncrude www.syncrude.ca/aboreview/.

21
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Detailed Results by Category


Category 8
Integrated Performance

Top Score: Best Practices


Suncor > Enbridge provides comprehensive compliance Category 8: Integrated Performance
data for each business segment, reporting on
100%
This category assesses the major incidents, regulatory notifications, and
90%
quality of reporting on EH&S fines and penalties.
80%
performance measures which

%
Average Score as %
> Suncor and TransAlta provide performance 70%

%
67

67

67

62
illustrate inter-relationships information related to many environmental, 60%
between economic, social and social and economic systemic indicators.
50%
40%
environmental issues and put
30%
corporate performance in 20%
context of regional, national 10%
and industry performance. 0%

8.1 Fines &


Non-Compliances

8.2 Liabilities, Risks,


Exposures & Uncertainties

8.3 Systemic Indicators

8.4 Cross-Cutting
Indicators
Scoring on Integrated Performance
is fairly consistent with an average
score of 66% across the category.
Among the seven reports assessed in
this study there are clear signs that
companies are looking to present
information in ways that link their
sustainability performance to regional,
national and sectoral benchmarks.
This helps companies put
performance in context and manage
expectations on their ability to impact
global, national and regional
sustainability trends.

Source: Suncor 2007 Report on Sustainability, p. 54.

22
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Results by Category

Source: TransAlta Corporation 2006 Report on Sustainability, p. 94.

Source: Enbridge 2007 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, p. 66.

23
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Detailed Results by Category


Category 9
Extending Influence Upstream and Downstream

Top Score: Best Practices


BC Hydro > BC Hydro is a clear leader in reporting on Category 9: Extending Influence
product and service stewardship, providing Upstream and Downstream
This category assesses how information on a range of programs and
100%
well the report describes the performance related to reducing energy
90%
company’s environmental, consumption and peak demand, including:
80%
social and economic impacts

Average Score as %
• Program and performance information and 70%

%
both upstream (i.e. within the

57
targets for Power Smart, the company’s 60%

%
52

%
supply chain) and downstream 50%

48
initiative to reduce energy consumption at
40%
(i.e. as a result of the homes and businesses;
30%
company’s products or serv- 20%
• The number of Green Power Certificates
ices) and how the company 10%
sold, which are supplied from certified green
manages or influences these generation facilities, and the GHG emissions 0%
impacts.

9.1 Supply Chain Mgmt

9.2 Product/Service
Stewardship

9.3 Customer/Consumers
avoided as a result; and

Extending Influence Upstream and • Details of programs to reduce peak


Downstream is the weakest category demand.
overall. Nevertheless, there is
> Enbridge reports on a range of demand-side
evidence that companies are starting
management programs and related savings
to explore reporting in this area, which
from these programs, including savings to
provides a real opportunity for
customers.
competitive differentiation. We expect
disclosure on product sustainability > TransAlta describes several initiatives
performance to be an area of rapid undertaken in the area of supply chain
progress in future years as more management, including criteria for choosing
companies explore ways to reduce suppliers, a commitment to use local vendors,
the impact of their products and a pilot supplier scorecard for safety
services, especially in relation to performance, and an update of the vendor
climate change. certification process.

> Vancity reports on third-party screening of


strategic suppliers to determine their alignment
with the company’s Baseline Ethical Policy.

24
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Results by Category

Source: BC Hydro Annual Report 2007, p. 64.

Source: TransAlta Corporation 2006 Report on Sustainability, p. 18.

25
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Detailed Results by Category


Category 10
Quality, Credibility and Communications
Category 10: Quality, Credibility
Top Score: Best Practices and Communications

Suncor > Enbridge, Suncor and TransAlta provide 100%


information on the reliability of the data and 90%

%
This category assesses the information in their reports, including detailed 80%

76

76
Average Score as %
70%

%
degree to which a report footnotes that provide information on specific

62
60%
presents information in an boundary conditions, changes in methodology,
50%
accessible, reliable, balanced and revisions of historical data.
40%
and useful manner. > Suncor, TELUS and Vancity use external 30%
20%
Reporters use a number of verification. In addition to clearly stating the
10%
approaches for improving the scope and limitations of the audit, Suncor’s
0%
reliability of the information reported, external auditor’s report presents overall

10.1 Reliability of Data


& Information

10.2 Verification/
Assurance

10.3 Communication
including disclosure of internal audits strengths and areas for improvement.
and footnotes to explain data quality. > The assurance statement in Vancity’s report
There is also a strong focus on provides specific commentary on the coverage
building reports into effective of material issues in the report.
communication tools with the use of
online content becoming common
and increasingly sophisticated.

The use of assurance is more mixed


with an average score of 62% and
four of our seven leaders using
internal or external assurance
processes, and five of seven using
some form of stakeholder feedback
mechanism (e.g. stakeholder
advisory panel) to add to the
credibility of the report. There is sig-
nificant variation in the type of assur-
ance process and assuror used,
suggesting that assurance remains a
developing area of reporting strategy.

26
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Results by Category

Source: TransAlta Corporation 2006 Report on Sustainability, p. 74.

Source: Suncor 2007 Report on Sustainability, p. 57.

27
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Emerging Issues and Best Practices


in Report Strategy and Content

The evolution of corporate sustain- We assessed the use of the materiality concept Nevertheless, some companies are taking steps
ability reporting is characterized by by our group of leading reporters through our towards better use of the materiality concept.
shifts in the strategies that inform report profile criterion and found practices to be Suncor identifies its four key challenges upfront,
report design and focus, and mixed. For companies to score a “3”, the process and comments on the use of a stakeholder
the topics that a report addresses. for determining materiality and topic prioritization review panel to provide input on these issues.
Reporting has transformed from the must be identified. Tellingly, no company scored Suncor also presents a case study on each of
ad-hoc and single-issue approaches a “3” on this criterion. While some companies these issues, providing context and
of the 1990’s to today’s standard- show evidence that a process has been used to indicating how the company is responding.
based reports that reflect the determine what to report, full descriptions of Vancity’s assurance provider looked at
dimensions of a company’s influence materiality processes are absent from all of the materiality, and the assurance statement in the re-
and impact across the sustainability reports, and a number of the reports suffered port explicitly states that “based on our work, we
agenda. The development of the from a lack of clarity on which issues are a believe that issues material to Vancity’s
materiality concept and the GRI G3 corporate focus. stakeholders have been considered and
Guidelines are prompting companies communicated in this report.” Some companies
to rethink their reporting strategies explain why specific issues are not material to
and focus their reports on the issues Materiality: The information in a report their business. For example, Vancity explains
of most relevance to the company should cover topics and indicators that that biodiversity is not material to its business
and its stakeholders. reflect the organization’s significant eco- since the company has no holdings in biodiver-
nomic, environmental, and social impacts, or
sity rich areas.
This section of the report discusses that would substantively influence the
the use of materiality and the GRI assessments and decisions of stakeholders.
in report strategy, and examines Source: Global Reporting Initiative www.globalreport
reporting on two material issues ing.org/ReportingFramework/G3Online/DefiningReport
Content/
facing companies in Canada: climate
change and Aboriginal relations.

Report Strategy
Materiality
The growing focus on the concept of
materiality is a significant trend driving
the evolution of corporate sustain
ability reporting. Materiality describes
the process by which companies
determine the issues which are most Implications of Materiality
significant in terms of their business
impact and the degree of stakeholder Strategy > Clarity on the issues driving long term business value
interest. > Robust rationale for focusing sustainability activities
> Integration of sustainability into risk management and other business
The concept of materiality has been processes
used by leading global companies > Assurance that programs are in place to manage critical issues
and is having a profound impact on
corporate sustainability reporting Reporting > Robust basis for identification of issues
strategy. The GRI now includes the > Shorter more focused reports
concept of materiality in its G3 Guide- > Greater assurance that key issues are covered
lines as one of the core principles for > Stronger integration between sustainability and annual reporting
determining report content. > Rationale for use and selection of reporting standards and indicators

28
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Emerging Issues

Stratos recommends that companies Business impacts Stakeholder interest


use a robust, auditable process to
determine the materiality of issues. > Operations > Media
We recommend identifying issues > Reputation > NGOs
> Customers > Investors
based on business priorities, peer
> Direct costs > Customers
activities, regulation, media attention
> Share price
and global and sectoral standards.
Stakeholder interest and business H
impacts associated with each of these
Online Printed
Stakeholder interest

issues can be assessed and Report


quantified and a matrix used to
identify issue priorities. The results
provide critical business intelligence,
allowing the assessment of strategic Available
priorities and providing a basis for on request Online
focusing resources and reporting.
L
As we look ahead, we expect to see
L Business impact H
materiality more strongly influence
Canadian corporate sustainability
reporting. Reports will start to be
Source: Vancity 2004-05
shorter and more clearly focused on Accountability Report, p. 11.
business priorities and the needs of
certain stakeholder groups, and there
will be greater clarity on the processes
used to determine report content.

Source: Suncor 2007 Report on Sustainability, p. 1.

29
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Emerging Issues and Best Practices


in Report Strategy and Content

Global Reporting Initiative Suncor, the only company in our detailed report
assessment that achieved an A+ application level
The 2006 release of the G3 revision of of the new G3 Guidelines, was also the highest
the GRI’s Sustainability Reporting scorer in our assessment. As an “A+” GRI
Guidelines has brought the use of reporter, Suncor’s report provides full profile
standards back to the top of mind for disclosures as defined by the Guidelines,
corporate reporters. The results of our discusses the management approach for each
study suggest that the use of the GRI indicator category, responds to each core G3
Guidelines is reaching critical mass in indicator with due regard to the materiality
Canada with 45% of reporting principle, and has been externally assured.
companies making some use of the Aspects of the GRI Guidelines that are not
Guidelines. Of this 45%, 14% are reflected in the main body of Suncor’s report are
using the new G3 Guidelines with one provided in a table at the end of the report.
company reporting to an “A” level and
BC Hydro, reporting in accordance with the GRI
two companies reporting to an “A+”
2002 Guidelines, offers a useful online
level, including Suncor.
comparative index that shows the degree of
alignment between BC Hydro’s performance
measures and those in the GRI 2002 Guidelines,
Six of the seven leading and provides links to detailed tables or graphs
containing the relevant performance information.
reporters we assessed use Similarly, the GRI index in TransAlta’s report is
the GRI in some way, “hyperlinked” and allows the reader to quickly
though most are still using navigate to the information supporting each GRI
the GRI 2002 Guidelines. component in the sustainability report, annual
Key features of the new G3 report, or on the web.
Guidelines include:
> Reporting Principles [including GRI 2002 Guidelines GRI G3 Guidelines
materiality] which assist com-
panies in determining report
Reference In Accordance B A+
content, and achieving report
quality. TELUS BC Hydro Enbridge Suncor
> New strategy and analysis
disclosure guides encourage TransAlta
reporters to describe their
overall approach to sustainabil- Vancity
ity management.
> The Disclosure on Manage-
ment Approach (DMA)
provides reporters with an
approach to outlining the
context within which their
performance should be
interpreted4.

4
http://www.globalreporting.org/AboutGRI/FAQs/FAQG3.htm

30
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Emerging Issues

When considering whether to use the GRI, the decision needs to be made based on
business strategy, in much the same way that a company would assess the case for
implementation of ISO 14001 or AA 1000. Key questions to consider include:

Questions Considerations

What investments do > Cost of implementing new/revising existing performance


we need to make? measurement systems
> Cost of staff time to reshape reporting to GRI format
and align performance management systems
(including training costs)

What needs do we > Support in development of internal reporting frameworks


have internally for > Ease of comparison of performance with sector peers
reporting guidance? > Assurance that sustainability program is built on established
standards

Do our stakeholders > Investor needs for comparability of information


need to see us using a > NGO needs for adherence to a multi-stakeholder standard
credible standard? > Customer needs for adherence to internationally
recognized standard

How will use of this > Will use of GRI differentiate us from our peers?
standard position > Is use of the GRI a prerequisite for leadership reporting?
us in the market? > What scope is there within GRI to test new reporting
approaches and innovate?

As more companies take on GRI reporting and move to the G3 Guidelines, the influence on
reporting could be profound, with comparability and clarity on material issues being placed
at the heart of reporting approaches. Despite renewed optimism in the potential of standards
to improve the quality of reporting, the application of the GRI Guidelines must be viewed as
a component of a reporting strategy rather than the ultimate goal of reporting.

31
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Emerging Issues and Best Practices


in Report Strategy and Content

Report Content sure of climate change performance are follow-


ing suit – with evidence that leading Canadian
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP):
Climate Change companies are examining ways to provide
an independent not-for-profit organization
innovative products and services as a response whose goal is to facilitate a dialogue,
Climate change is currently THE hot
to climate pressures. For example, Suncor supported by quality information, from which
topic in the corporate sustainability
field. The public policy environment reports on its investments in low sulphur fuels, a rational response to climate change will
around climate change is dynamic ethanol-blended gasoline, and wind power pro- emerge.
and stakeholder interest in corporate duction. BC Hydro reports the success of its
CDP provides a coordinating secretariat for
management of carbon emissions program to offer Green Power Certificates –
institutional investors with a combined $41
and climate impacts is growing. green electricity that is 100% generated in B.C.
trillion of assets under management. On their
Against this backdrop, pressure to im- and provided to domestic customers on a pilot behalf it seeks information on the business
prove corporate disclosure of climate basis. Enbridge reports on its commitments to risks and opportunities presented by climate
change strategy is continuing to rise. invest in renewable and alternative energy change and greenhouse gas emissions data
Indeed there is a compelling argument sources that help reduce GHG emissions and from the world's largest companies
that the high profile and importance of
address climate change. Vancity reports on
climate change makes it a material The CDP publishes responses from a ques-
climate-friendly financial products including:
issue for all companies, whatever tionnaire sent to 2,400 of the world’s largest
their sector. This view is supported > Clean Air Auto Loans for hybrid and natural companies. The largest 200 Canadian com-
by initiatives such as the Carbon gas vehicles; panies are invited to respond.
Disclosure Project (CDP). Of the
four study companies invited to > Home financing incentives to support Source: The Carbon Disclosure Project
energy-saving home renovations; www.cdproject.net/whatiscdp.asp
participate in the CDP, all of them
responded (Enbridge, Suncor, > Financing for green energy alternatives such
TELUS and TransAlta). as small-scale hydro projects; and
Credible corporate management of > Green mortgage pilot projects.
climate change requires a robust and
coherent strategy. Corporate climate The key elements of climate change strategy that
change strategies are becoming more Stratos recommends to clients are mapped out
sophisticated with leading companies on the following page. We examined reporting
taking a holistic approach that against each element and found evidence
encompasses identification of risks that corporate disclosure on climate change is
and opportunities, governance, growing in sophistication in line with corporate
setting reduction targets, and strategy.
stakeholder engagement. Stratos
recommends viewing climate change
reporting, including the disclosure of
approach and performance, as an
important element of corporate
climate strategy.

As corporate approaches to climate


change become more sophisticated,
companies are pushing their climate
change strategies to address not only
the company’s operational impact on
climate change but also the impact of
the company’s products, services,
and supply chain. The results of this
Source: Suncor 2007 Report on Sustainability, p. 6.
study show that practices in disclo-

32
Elements of climate change strategy Best practices in corporate disclosure

> Vancity’s 2006-07 action plan includes a commitment to assess


Identification of climate risks and opportunities the climate change risks associated with its core business.
> Suncor identifies climate change as a risk and is candid in
discussing how the growth in its oil sands business is a major
contributor to GHG emissions. The company also discusses
the potential business impacts of future GHG regulations.

> Enbridge and Suncor describe the key roles and responsibilities
Governance for GHG management, including specific oversight responsibilities
for the Board.
> Vancity identifies the senior VPs responsible for all of the
company’s targets, including those related to climate change.

Policies and management systems > Enbridge reports on its specific Climate Change Policy.

> Suncor reports on its decrease in GHG emission intensity


Business planning through initiatives including renewable energy, energy efficiency
and carbon capture and storage.
> Vancity discusses its financing of green energy products such as
Upnit Power Corporation’s China Creek power project.

> Vancity reports on campaigns and programs to encourage staff


Employee engagement and corporate culture to be more energy efficient at work, as well as to use alternative
modes of transportation.

> Suncor discloses that investment in research into alternative


Research and development technologies is at the heart of their strategy for responsible
growth.

> BC Hydro, Enbridge, Suncor, TELUS and Vancity report direct


Performance targets and measures and indirect GHG emissions.
> BC Hydro, Enbridge, Suncor and Vancity provide a source
breakdown of GHG emissions.
> Suncor reports forecasted emissions out to 2011.
> Enbridge and TELUS report GHG emission reduction targets.
> Vancity reports a carbon neutral goal and indicates concrete
steps that the company is taking to achieve this objective.

> Suncor presents its public policy position on climate change


Stakeholder engagement which guides its engagement activity in this area.

> Suncor, TELUS, and Vancity have their GHG data verified
Assurance by a third-party.
> Enbridge reports plans to undertake an independent third-party
audit of its Canadian GHG emissions data management system.

Disclosure > Suncor produces an annual Climate Change Report that


highlights the company’s GHG performance. The report candidly
discusses 10 key climate change challenges related to its
business and the actions the company is taking to address
climate change in the coming decade.

33
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Emerging Issues and Best Practices


in Report Strategy and Content

Aboriginal Relations Corporate reporting on Aboriginal relations > Vancity has an Aboriginal engagement
should address three areas: strategy.
Relations between companies and > Aboriginal engagement and relationships: > Many companies provide examples of their
Aboriginal Peoples is a key business The approach to building and maintaining rela- Aboriginal engagement efforts, including
and social issue in Canada, tionships with Aboriginal communities. This BC Hydro, Enbridge, Suncor, Syncrude,
particularly, but not exclusively, for the might include policies, engagement and TELUS, and TransAlta.
resource sectors. There are response processes, formal consultation
increasing pressures on companies practices and the management systems to
ensure consistent implementation.
Economic Impact of Aboriginal
and Aboriginal communities to find
Relations Strategies
improved ways to engage construc- > Economic impact: The approach to manag-
tively for mutual benefit. Corporate ing and enhancing corporate economic bene- > BC Hydro, Suncor, Syncrude, TELUS,
fits for Aboriginal communities. This might and Vancity provide data on Aboriginal
sustainability reporting is a component
include products and services for Aboriginal employment. Syncrude and Suncor also
of Aboriginal relations strategies,
communities, employment opportunities, pro- provide data on Aboriginal procurement, and
allowing companies to demonstrate BC Hydro and Syncrude provide data on
curement from Aboriginal-owned businesses,
the progress they are making and Aboriginal community investment.
and provision of education and training initia-
providing a vehicle for engagement
tives. > BC Hydro reports on its Aboriginal
with Aboriginal groups. Procurement and Contracting Policy, and a
> Aboriginal rights: The approach to
Fifty-one percent of Canadian recognition and protection of the rights of 10-year Aboriginal Education and Employment
Aboriginal communities. initiative.
sustainability reporters discuss their
approach to Aboriginal relations. > TELUS discusses its Connecting Communities
We look below at reporting among our seven Agreement that delivers high-speed Internet
Among the seven leading reports in leaders against these three areas.
the study, scores on Aboriginal infrastructure to rural areas in B.C., including a
number of Aboriginal communities, as well
relations were mixed, with BC Hydro Aboriginal Engagement as its efforts to bring telephone service
and Syncrude emerging as clear and Relationships infrastructure to isolated Aboriginal
leaders. In addition to providing a > One of BC Hydro’s long-term goals is related communities in B.C.
wealth of information on Aboriginal to improving relationships with First Nations
relations in its Sustainability Report, that are “built on mutual respect and that ap-
Syncrude also prepares an annual propriately reflect the interests of First Nations.”
Aboriginal Rights
Aboriginal Review to communicate BC Hydro also commits to address past > BC Hydro provides data on First Nation
further its Aboriginal relations grievances of Aboriginal communities. negotiation, litigation and settlement costs.
activities. > Enbridge reports on its Indigenous Peoples
Policy and identifies a number of signed agree-
ments with Aboriginal communities on the
Gateway Project to ensure economic and skills
development.
> Syncrude reports on its Aboriginal Relations
Program and its six key commitment areas,
and provides examples of its engagement with
Aboriginal communities.
> TransAlta identifies its Executive Vice
President with responsibility for Aboriginal
Relations and has established a transmission
advisory committee to:
• Develop best practices for transmission
systems located on Aboriginal lands;
• Foster employment opportunities; and Source: Syncrude 2006 Sustainability Report, p. 39.
• Increase dialogue.

34
Canadian Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Conclusion

This study tracks two parallel trajecto- > Get ready for materiality: Materiality is A final thought: As sustainability reporting
ries in sustainability reporting in going to have a profound impact on reporting gets more strategic and sustainability issues are
Canada. Innovation and best practice approaches as key stakeholders demand increasingly addressed in financial reporting, we
is pushing ahead on a number of greater clarity on key sustainability issues and expect the level of scrutiny to
fronts at the seven companies in our focused reporting on performance on these increase. Stakeholders are going to demand
assessment. For these companies, areas. Build a robust process and trim down confidence that the numbers, procedures and
corporate sustainability reporting is a reporting to the issues that matter. practices reported are an accurate reflection
core component of long-term value of business performance and activity. Do you
creation which provides a competitive > Get serious about climate change: have the mechanisms in place to give them
edge. At the same time, sustainability Climate change will continue to be the big
that assurance?
reporting is going through a period of ticket issue in the corporate sustainability
change. While the rate of growth in world. Consumers, customers, investors, reg-
Canadian sustainability reporting is ulators and non-governmental organizations
slowing, there are signs that reporting are all scrutinizing corporate activity. Gear up
companies are catching their breath the sophistication of your strategy and look to
while systems, tools and reporting find competitive advantage in your response.
frameworks are developed and imple-
> Assess the business case for the use
mented. Approaches to materiality,
of the G3 Guidelines: Uptake of the G3
assurance and the use of the GRI G3
Guidelines is increasing. Assess the business
Guidelines are being tested and are
needs for reporting to G3 standards and be
finding traction as companies exam-
realistic about the costs. Don’t just follow the
ine their strategy and plan to step up
pack - build an approach based on sound
their reporting.
business principles.
Our findings are an early indicator of
> Know your performance on
renewed activity in reporting. We
Aboriginal relations: Reporting on poli-
expect the next two years to see
cies, programs and practices for Aboriginal re-
further evolution and improvement in
lations is becoming standard in
the quality of sustainability reporting in
Canadian sustainability reporting, and
Canada. As companies are looking to
demonstrating genuine progress is vital to
navigate the coming changes, we
maintaining trust with stakeholders. Track
identify key issues that reporting
engagement activity, community investment
practitioners need to consider:
programs, and Aboriginal recruitment and
business development and know how your
operations, products and services are viewed
by Aboriginal communities.

35
Stratos has conducted three
previous in-depth assessments of
corporate sustainability reporting
in Canada. These reports are
available online at www.stratos-
sts.com.

Stratos has developed a sustainability reporting toolkit with the


Government of Canada. The goal of the toolkit is to provide assistance
to business to assess the need to report and create an effective report.
The toolkit is available at www.sustainabilityreporting.ca.

Stratos, with the support of Industry Canada, conducted a study with


seven Canadian and international companies who are seeing the value
in integrating sustainability into their business processes. The study, and
the individual company case studies, provide best practice examples for
other companies to adopt or adapt. See www.stratos-sts.com
to access the full study and individual case studies.

36
Stratos services to support your sustainability strategy and management

Identify and > Materiality analysis


priorize key
issues

Assess > Gap analysis - policies, systems and practices


STRATEGY

current state

> Review peer best practices


Benchmark

Define policy > Facilitate executive decision


and strategy

> Governance advice, training, alignment


Assign accountabilities

Engage > Stakeholder mapping and engagement


stakeholders
IMPLEMENTATION

Build > Advice on priorities and actions


action plan

Management > Management system design and implementation


system

Issue management > Design and support to implement programs


(e.g. business ethics, human rights, community investment,
biodiversity, climate change)

Report > Sustainability report assessment and strategy


progress
ASSURANCE

> Sustainability assurance and stakeholder feedback


Review and audit

37
Furthering the Debate
We encourage discussion and debate on the views expressed in this study.
To share your comments and perspectives, please contact

Julie Pezzack, Principal


613.241.1001 ext. 237
jpezzack@stratos-sts.com
or
Matt Loose, Manager Corporate Sustainability
613.241.1001 ext. 236
mloose@stratos-sts.com

1404-1 Nicholas Street, Ottawa, Ontario


Tel: 613.241.1001 Fax: 613.241.4758
www.stratos-sts.com