Recent sustainability and integrated reporting developments

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17 Oct 2016

A summary of recent developments at the WBCSD, the CCR and the Finance for the Future Awards.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has released the 2016 edition of Reporting matters. The 2016 research shows that 76% of the leading companies have improved their disclosures on non-financial information since the first WBCSD baseline report in 2013, with materiality disclosures in particular showing the greatest signs of improvement. Nearly a third of companies (31% total) communicate on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); 42% of organisations take a “digital first” approach to reporting by putting comprehensive sustainability information on the company’s website; and 28% of companies combined their financial and non-financial reporting into annual reports. The report also shows that GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) guidelines remain the most widely used. Please click to access a press release and the full report on the WBCSD website.

The Center for Corporate Reporting (CCR) and the University of Leipzig, Germany have initiated a joint research project on the benefits and challenges of the  implementation of integrated reporting. First results are available in the study How valuable is Integrated Reporting? – Insights from best practice companies. Arguments for and against the implementation of integrated reporting as a management approach include better understanding of value creation, improved risk management and a more holistic view of the entire company as well as embedding integrated thinking in to the corporate strategy and the support of management against increased costs and work effort, new potential risks, and (currently) a lack of vision and leadership skills. Arguments for and against the implementation of integrated reproting as a reporting format include a more efficient reporting process and step-by-step adjusted reporting processes and experiences against a long implementation process before the initial report is published, unclear division of roles and responsibilities, and limited resources and internal resistance to change. Please click to access a press release and the key results on the CCR website.

The winners of the Finance for the Future Awards have been announced. The awards, founded by ICAEW and The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), were first awarded in 2012 to highlight the essential role that finance plays in integrated thinking and building sustainable business models. New this year was an award for ‘Communicating integrated thinking’. The award is for organisations that are demonstrating clearly, through communicating to their providers of financial capital, how sustainability, in its broadest sense, is embedded into their overall strategy and decision making process and how this ‘integrated thinking’ is contributing to a sustainable business model which delivers long term value. In this context, integrated thinking is seen as coming before reporting with reporting being the end result from this process and a way to communicate progress to the outside world. The winners in all categories of the awards have been announced on the Finance for the Future website.

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