The activities of central government organisations are helping build the society of the future. What is the role of each government agency and institution in solving global sustainability challenges? The first summary for government sustainability work is to be drafted in the spring of 2021. Now is the right time to embrace the goals of the Agenda2030 programme and to identify which of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable development goals (SDG) are the most important for one’s own agency or institution.
The State Treasury is advising agencies and institutions to focus in their reporting on sustainability on the imprint that each agency or institution leaves on their societal and ecological environments. The imprint is to be examined through the UN’s goals for sustainable development. The sustainability report focuses on how it is possible to promote the achievement of the UN sustainable development goals through one’s own actions. To keep the point of view of the reporting from leaning too far in the direction of greenwashing, it is equally important to identify what aspects of existing activities might impede the advancement of any of the goals of sustainable development and to seek solutions for the dismantling of such impediments.
Different areas of sustainability get different kinds of emphasis
Not every ministry, agency, and institution need to report on everything that is done to advance the entire Agenda2030 action programme – the 17 UN goals for sustainable development. Each actor has an area of special expertise comprising legally mandated tasks. In reports on sustainability, it is crucial to describe how the activities of an organisation are linked with the strategic goals for effectiveness.
The State Treasury published a guideline for preparing for sustainability reporting in Finnish ans Swedish in November 2020. The guideline instructs ministries, agencies, and institutions on how to identify the most significant 3-5 UN goals for sustainable development.
Reporting helps in the monitoring of goals set for the activities
When drafting a sustainability report it is good at the very beginning to stop and consider how the report, as a product and a service, communicates on the interaction between the organisation and its stakeholders. What matters are of interest to the most important stakeholders of the organisation? Whose trust needs to be earned?
The Making Sustainability Visible webinar in February 2021 peeks at the progress made by the project, and three areas that are important for launching reporting on sustainability have been included in the presentation. How should the guideline on sustainability reporting be applied? Why is it a good idea to join in already now, instead of next year?
Katri Kanerva, tel. +358 (0)295 503 364, katri.kanerva(at)valtiokonttori.fi
Henni Purtonen, tel. +358 (0)295 502 017, henni.purtonen(at)valtiokonttori.fi