Sustainability Reporting: Need of the hour
There’s always an element of uncertainty attached to the global economic, social, and environmental landscape. The uncertainty levels heighten due to disruptive events like climate-related disasters and pandemics among others. Upon closer observation, major global disruptions and imbalances are impending, sprouting from extended human negligence of sustainability issues (environmental, social, economic) and disregard of the Earth’s planetary boundaries. Needless to say, the human race is to blame for all the aforesaid shortcomings. We had it all coming!
Human negligence on sustainability issues has compounded over time, and it is only when the ramifications hit quite close to home that awareness and solutions start gaining momentum. The uncertain times we are in herald a global sustainable transition, which for businesses means adopting better ways of doing business and moving away from their Business as Usual (BAU) practices.
As businesses grapple with addressing the rising stakeholder and investor demands and regulatory pressure on sustainable practices, accountability and transparency have emerged as the differentiator that separates credible sustainable businesses from the rest. A good practice that sustainable businesses follow aside from prioritizing and embedding sustainability holistically, includes accounting for and disclosing their positive and negative impacts on the environment, society & economy through mediums like sustainability reporting. Sustainability reports are very effective in communicating and channelizing an organization’s sustainability performance across wider audiences.
Vivriti’s Mission & Sustainability Reporting
Sustainability and impact have been the underpinning purpose driving Vivriti Group’s impactful mission of bringing parity in the Indian mid-market credit space. As a financial institution that deals in debt and equity, our role in the global sustainable transition is paramount through ensuring sustainable financial flows and being a sustainable player in the market. From our business initiatives that are designed to achieve wide-scale financial inclusion, to our responsible business practices (both internal and external), we have been continuously striving to improve our sustainability performance. What better way could there be than to showcase the same through our sustainability reports! Sustainability reporting is an annual exercise for Vivriti, and it has been a transformational medium to display our adoption of responsible, accountable, and transparent practices to wider stakeholders.
Our first sustainability report, ‘Sustainability at Scale’, reflects the achievement of sustainability and impact through our financially inclusive instruments, along with the initiation and integration of sustainable business initiatives.
Our second and latest sustainability report, ‘Beyond Inclusion’ – is centered around surpassing our mission’s objective and magnifying our impact by building ‘a circle of sustainable champions’ through our client-focused ESG offerings. The theme aptly reflects our ongoing commitment to improve our own sustainability performance while uplifting others in the journey. Over the past year, we have devised and implemented various measures to achieve the latter. We formed an ESG Committee, framed and rolled out relevant ESG policies, developed an ESG risk assessment framework, started conducting portfolio-level ESG due diligences, and designed monitoring and stewardship engagement for our clients. Through such client focused ESG measures, we aim to help all our clients embed similar practices and improve their sustainability performance.
Sustainability reporting is a global reporting practice among companies, and there are many reporting frameworks available that companies can choose to align with. Adherence to a widely used framework like the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards helps ensure consistency, comparability, and standardized reporting. Our second sustainability report is based on the updated 2021 GRI standards, which makes it mandatory for companies to follow the reporting principles & disclosure requirements therein. We have measured and provided disclosures on all the parameters required by GRI 1 – Foundation 2021, GRI 2 – General Disclosures 2021, and GRI 3 – Material Topics 2021.
The core of sustainability reporting comprises disclosing and reporting relevant information backed by verifiable data. The appointment of a third-party independent consultant to audit and verify our report has given an additional layer of credibility to the reported information. We also ensured our data collection, measurement, and reporting methods were systematic and methodical.
Below are the steps we followed in measuring and disclosing the reported data:
- All data asks were mapped with the requirement of the reporting framework
- For data collection, management & measurement, we involved all verticals – Admin, HR, Compliance, Risk, IT, Finance, Sustainability & Impact Team
- Appointed a third-party consultant to audit and verify the reported information
- Only verified information and data have been disclosed in the report
Delving into the reported information
(I) Effective risk management & board oversight
Sustainability and impact are ingrained in our vision, mission and values, and its prominence has been ratified at the Board level while percolating across the organization. Our ESG interventions holistically address not only the ESG risks & opportunities from our operations (through our sustainability strategy, framework & initiatives) but also that of our clients (through our ESG risk management framework, exclusionary sector list, Vivriti’s Sustainability Assessment Model (VSAM), client ESG due diligence, and monitoring & stewardship engagement).