Assignment: Assessing Company Sustainability Performance & Disclosure
With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development it is of high relevance to governments, companies and their stakeholders to track and assess the contributions of business to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Business Contributions to the SDGs – A Student Assessment, a project led by WikiRate and PRME, aims to aggregate and analyse corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) data to better understand private sector contributions to the SDGs.
University students around the globe are proactively identifying, aggregating, analysing data, and sharing the achievements of companies to the SDGs as reported in their CSR and Communication on Progress reports submitted to the UN Global Compact.
Currently, companies report in PDF form, making data points difficult to compare and use for research and performance assessment. The Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Sustainability Disclosure Database contains over 47,000 reports from over 12,000 companies, adding up to millions of data points – but the data are hidden in PDFs.
Thus, as part of this assignment, you will research these valuable data points, add them to WikiRate and use the data to yourselves assess company performance and disclosure.
There are three main components to this exercise:
- Collecting and add data to WikiRate according to the set of metrics in your project for your company.
- Peer review of data research.
- A research report using the data and a set of guiding research questions provided below to analyse and compare disclosures.
Create a WikiRate profile. Click the “join” button on wikirate.org. Create a username [name/student number/etc], add your email address and password, then click submit.
When you are signed into WikiRate, join your Research Group http://wikirate.org/Ewha_Womans_University_Research_Group by clicking this link, and clicking on "Join Group."
- Begin data research. Use the Project below and navigate to the appropriate Subproject to begin research. As you add answers to the research page check the methodology tab to make sure you are reporting the data correctly according to each metric.
Every value or data point on WikiRate must have a source. Your source may be found in the UN Global Compact Database or you can visit the GRI Sustainability Disclosure Database here to search for your company’s report. Either download the report or click link to PDF report to find the correct URL. If you get stuck, watch this short video tutorial on how to add a source to WikiRate.
As you conduct your research, keep in mind the following questions which will help you contextualize the data and make comparisons and analyses of company performance:
For each metric, how is the data point reported? (a) the scope of their operations which was covered (e.g. full value chain? Company’s own facilities in headquarters country?), (b) the method used to collect the data and/or estimate the answers?
For each metric, is there any reporting on the topic outside of the data disclosure? For example, company X does not disclose Total Water Withdrawals. Does the report mention water, is the word referenced in connection with specific SDGs and is water use relevant to the company’s operations?
How are the SDGs covered in the report and indicators? How are the SDGs referenced in the report? For instance, are business disclsoures mapped against SDGs (and their targets)? Were there other metrics used to disclose SDG-related information?
Peer review. You should be paired or pair yourself with another student to conduct a review one another’s data research. There is a mechanism on WikiRate for double-checking metric values. This exercise may require dialogue with your partner around nuances in the data reported by a company. Sustainability tracking and measurement is nuanced and often requires some level of subjectivity to interpret companies’ reports
Conduct analysis and write-up report. Analyze company reporting as indicated by your professor and course requirements. To see some of the calculated metric analysis that is created based on your research, add your company to the project below.
About WikiRate Research Tools
Metrics. To find out more about metrics, browse the Metric page, and read about the definitions of different types of metrics on WikiRate (calculated and researched).
Sources. Add a source for research and citation see the tutorial here.
Extras. You may export data from a project or metric page for analysis off the platform.
Using WikiRate. For trouble-shooting and guidance on using WikiRate.
Student research FAQs. Answers to questions frequently asked by students using WikiRate for research for assignments.
WikiRate Values & Principles. Community principles are essential for wiki-type sites to function and help to develop communities of knowledge sharing.
If you have any questions about the research or there’s something you want to discuss, please start a conversation on the relevant project page. Use the “Add Conversation“ button at the bottom of a project page, or see if there’s already a similar conversation you could contribute to. The WikiRate team will be checking these spaces regularly.
Technical support. For reporting bugs.
Data research (GRI research best practices). Metric research is not always a question of finding a number and adding this value to WikiRate – different companies may calculate these numbers in different ways or vary in terms of the scope of who/what is covered. It’s helpful to have fellow researchers around to discuss the quality of data and what it actually means. Information about how a data-point was calculated, or the scope of operations it covers, is important to interpreting that value properly. Best practice on WikiRate is to always write down your methods for finding a value and the context where you found it, as a “comment” to the answer you submit (On what page number did you find the data? Is it presented with background information? Did you have to do a calculation to work out the right value?). This creates the background necessary to understand a value, and allows for a discussion around the data-point itself.
Discussion: You can use the WikiRate platform to communicate general questions or start conversations around specific topics.
For all other questions or suggestions email firstname.lastname@example.org