Zoë looks at the challenges of developing a more integrated reporting strategy.
We've all experienced that sinking feeling when we think we are
behind the curve. It seems like many of us are experiencing that
feeling when it comes to Integrated
Reporting, the new trend towards comprehensive reporting that
integrates financial performance reporting with information about
environment, social and governmental reporting. In laymen's terms,
blending the organisation's CR reporting data into the annual
report and accounts - and thus dispensing with a separate CR
The reassuring news from Chris Tuppen of Advancing Sustainability (and previously chief sustainability officer at BT) is that actually this concept is so new and shiny there isn't much of a curve to get behind. The real challenge is not embedding CR into reporting but actually embedding it first into the business strategy according to Tuppen who spoke at a recent SAS breakfast briefing. Including it as a reporting 'bolt on' - talking about it without doing it - provides no value to the business or its audiences.
There was a range of views from attendees about the benefits of moving towards integrated reporting. At one end, it was perceived as 'inevitable but a lot of work for little gain and interest for our financial audiences' and 'important but yet more paper' whilst others recognised that it represented 'the appropriate balance of financial and non-financial metrics in one report telling the company's story in a cohesive way'.
There is no doubt that sustainability is now on the top table. 83% of attendees at the briefing confirmed that sustainability was a mainstream strategic issue within their organisation. Identifying the top issues that are material to the business and reporting against the appropriate materiality matrix is an essential first step in integrated reporting. But less than a quarter of the businesses represented at our event had yet to identify their top three socio-economic trends.
So who are the early pioneers getting it right? Philips, BHPBilliton and Novo Nordisk were called out by Tuppen in his talk. For those who are aspiring to join this esteemed group, the International Integrated Reporting Committee (the IIRC) is looking for companies to participate in a pilot programme to help lead the development of Integrated Reporting. They are recruiting companies in different sectors around the world to enable them to see the commonalities and develop a general framework. According to the IIRC, participating companies will have the benefit of interacting with a dedicated peer group on their Integrated Reporting journey. So if you are looking for fellow travelers on the road to Integrated Reporting, check it out.
News & Events
26 November 2010
The awards keep coming for Home Retail Group's Annual Report
30 September 2010
Sainsbury’s Online Annual Report wins again
05 October 2010
Design Week – Ten to remember