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The University of Southampton
Southampton Business School

Sustainability Reporting in Uganda

Sustainability reporting can reap rewards for businesses, from environmental and social to financial.

Professor Ven Tauringana has used his research to roll out a successful programme to train Ugandan organisations in how to prepare their own sustainability reports using global sustainability standards. To encourage other organisations to adopt sustainability reporting, he launched a sustainability reporting quality mark to recognise Ugandan organisations that produce their first sustainability report, and incorporated a new NGO that is offering training in sustainability reporting in the African country.

Context

Presenting an award

Sustainability reporting by organisations is recognised globally as an effective way to demonstrate commitment to sustainable practices. United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.6 aims to “encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.”

Sustainability reporting can help organisations to measure, understand and communicate their economic, environmental, social and governance performance, and then set goals, and manage change more effectively.

Research challenge

Professor Ven Tauringana’s research expertise in sustainability reporting was borne out of his extensive study into corporate greenhouse gas emissions disclosure practices. His research led the Uganda Manufacturers’ Association to invite him in 2016 to facilitate a workshop on measuring, reporting and managing greenhouse gas emissions in Kampala. Attendees reported that their stakeholders were asking for sustainability reports, but they needed assistance in preparing them. This prompted him to undertake research to understand the challenges that were holding back many organisations from preparing sustainability reports. His research findings revealed that lack of training and assistance to prepare sustainability reports were among the challenges.

Roll-out of extensive corporate sustainability reporting

Tauringana then visited Uganda again in 2019 and trained 120 people from 105 organisations on how to prepare sustainability reports. Later in the same year, he trained seven lecturers, who then trained 10 research assistants.

Also in 2019, a sustainability reporting quality mark was launched at the Ugandan Manufacturers’ Association headquarters. This certificate is now awarded to companies when they produce their first sustainability report and is valid for three years. To renew the quality mark, an organisation must show that it had been preparing sustainability reports for the past three years since being awarded the quality mark.  

Formation of a non-governmental organisation for sustainability reporting

Tauringana was also behind the launch in 2020 of Transparency for Sustainable Development (TSD) Uganda, a non-governmental organisation to promote sustainability reporting and train organisations in the country.

The managing director stated: “Tauringana’s research into how accountancy practice can drive improvement in social and environmental outcomes has… been translated into action that can help organisations in Uganda really make a difference to their communities, their environment and to their overall performance.”

Downstream benefits of sustainability reporting

Before Tauringana’s involvement, only five Ugandan organisations produced and uploaded their sustainability reports on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) website. The total at the end of 2020 stood at 110 – and counting.

Organisations that have adopted sustainability reporting are reaping the rewards. They are making changes to benefit their businesses as well as the wider environment and community, from implementing new environmentally-friendly technology, to upping recycling, to closing the gender gap, to cutting waste.

List of all staff members in
Staff MemberPrimary Position
Venancio TauringanaHead of Department of Accounting, Professor of Accounting
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