How to Report on Sustainability When You’re a One-Person Team

It’s no secret that the environment has suffered due to human production and consumption, so businesses are taking it upon themselves to implement sustainability action plans.

Posted on 
July 27, 2021
Matthew Wright
Founder & CEO, Specright

It’s no secret that the environment has suffered due to human production and consumption, so businesses are taking it upon themselves to implement sustainability action plans.

But it can be hard to make sustainability a reality — especially when sustainability teams are the smallest in most companies. On top of a lack of manpower, few companies have the data they need to know where their sustainability initiatives currently stand.

The reason? A lack of supply chain visibility. It’s impossible to track sustainability at the product level without the ability to track what goes on in the supply chain.

For example, how can you cut packaging materials without familiarity with the distribution and logistics environment?

Bringing sustainability to the forefront of business is vital, but the combination of small teams and poor supply chain visibility can be a recipe for disaster.

Read on to learn more about sustainability reporting, why leading brands are allocating resources to becoming more sustainable, and how you can affect change as a one-person sustainability team.

What is Sustainability Reporting and Why Does it Matter?

Sustainability reports are a way for companies to assess their social, environmental, and community impact, also known as corporate social responsibility (CSR). They’re crucial to developing any sort of action plan to address corporate sustainability.

But these reports require data that’s typically siloed or hard to obtain and are also highly variable from company to company. You might be wondering, “Where do I start to begin making progress towards sustainability goals?” Or “How do I track progress and hold team members accountable?”

And when it comes to smaller organizations, it can be challenging to know what data is needed, let alone how to get it.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an organization that tries to combat this by setting basic standards for what should go into sustainability reports, but can be vague and not directly transferable to different industries or verticals.

This is why supply chain visibility is the first step to sustainability reporting. Sustainability isn’t always a one-size fits all scenario, and by understanding the value chain as a whole, it’s easier to develop the right action plan for your organization.

Why Impactful Companies are Facing Sustainability Head On

According to Pepsi, packaging makes up 25% of their greenhouse gas footprint, which is why making the shift to sustainable packaging is key to their carbon emission reduction. Other established brands have made it clear that there’s a business case for implementing sustainable solutions, and, in fact, is starting to become the new norm.

Here’s why.

Macro factors such as climate change, human rights, waste, and unethical procurement have been brought to light. The media, consumers, philanthropists, and the scientific community are calling businesses out — gone are the days of unchecked corporate power. Enter corporate sustainability.

Corporate sustainability is the ideology that businesses can create long-term value and positively affect their bottom line through ethical, social, environmental, and cultural practices.

Pepsi chose to make packaging more sustainable by switching out current materials to recyclable substitutes. Recycled materials take less energy to process, reducing production costs, carbon footprint and landfills, and adding value for the company and its key stakeholders. Quite the win-win(-win) if you ask me.

But for smaller brands, reporting and executing on sustainability goals isn’t easy.Small companies are focused on rapid growth and driving change within their market, which can put sustainability on the back-burner. We’ve covered the who, what, and why — let’s get to how small teams are reporting on sustainability.

What You Need to Successfully Report on Sustainability as a One-Person Team

First things first, you have to centralize your company’s supply chain data.But we get it — easier said than done. The industry and the market are demanding more accurate reporting, and the key is to start with your specifications.

Implementing Specification Management software like Specright gives small teams the tools they need to create actionable reports and analytics. Using a spec-first approach, step one in a corporate sustainability program should be to digitize and centralize all product and packaging specifications. This includes capturing critical information such as recyclability of materials and packaging. With Specright’s specification template library, companies can understand what data they need to capture in the first place to easily report on sustainability efforts.

These templates can help facilitate stakeholder engagement; since sustainability touches many departments, it can be difficult to gain consensus on what to capture. With over 50 templates to choose from, Specright has you covered.

Download this eBook to learn how to get ready to start your journey in becoming a more sustainable business while driving efficiency.

Without Specification Management software, it’s impossible to identify issues and make changes. Specright makes organizing and analyzing data easy, even for small teams, enabling growth, adaptability, and better sustainability practices.

Sustainability is the Future

In the age of data sharing and social media, consumers have more awareness about corporate sustainability efforts than ever before.

And now, there’s demand for sustainable practices and products, making sustainability no longer a nice-to-have, but a competitive advantage. That’s why the ability to report on sustainability, especially as a lean team, is a major value driver.

To learn more about Specright’s Specification Data Management software and how to report on sustainability as a one-person team, download our eBook today.


Matthew Wright

Matthew Wright is the founder & CEO of Specright, the first cloud-based platform for Specification Management. Specright has been recognized by Fast Company’s prestigious Most Innovative Companies list, named a Gartner Cool Vendor, and as one of the Top Places to Work by the OC Register and Built in LA. Wright is also a published author and his book, “The Evolution of Products and Packaging,”was named to the Amazon Hot New Release List for Industrial Relations Business and has a five star rating. 

Prior to founding Specright, Wright spent more than 25 years in the packaging industry, holding leadership positions at International Paper, Temple Inland, and rightPAQ — a packaging company he co-founded. He has also been involved in leading multiple M&A deals in the packaging industry, currently sits on the MSU School of Packaging and Industry Advisory Board and previously served on the Packaging Advisory Board at Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo.

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