2013 - Integrated and Sustainability Reporting


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An idea whose time has come? What's the difference, what's the value and what to expect.

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2013 - Integrated and Sustainability Reporting

  1. 1. Sustainability and Integrated Reporting 2013 – A Review 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants1
  2. 2. The Headlines  Sustainability has moved into the main stream  Sustainability boosts the bottom line  The financial fraternity is taking notice  Companies commit to though goals  Companies reap the benefit from sustainability and integrated reporting  Reporting contributes to increased internal efficiencies and become management tools  Companies report on increased competitiveness brought about by sustainability strategies 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants2
  3. 3. An idea whose time has come  Both companies and countries are at different levels of understanding and implementing sustainability strategies, processes, plans, and policies  Emerging markets are increasingly engaging with the agenda and, in some instances, leading  There is a need for developing appropriate skills and leadership across all sectors to embed sustainability issues into strategy and operations  Global regulations, standards and initiatives are increasing in influence  Regulation and reporting alone cannot ensure a sustainable future for all - culture and leadership is key  Engagement is critically important to ensure priority and focus on the right drivers 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants3
  4. 4. After Round One  Silo reporting is still evident in financial, sustainability, governance and operations sections  A lot of information still has no context  Key performance indicators are not always relevant to strategies  Issues arising from stakeholder engagement are not always adequately dealt with  Challenges that will need to be addressed include the efficient gathering of non-financial information  South African companies already see clear benefits in adopting the principles of Integrated Reporting  Full implementation could take three to five years for many organizations  Many companies feel the principles of Integrated Reporting have helped them better understand and manage their business  Implementation requires organisational change at all levels, and is not a single event 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants4
  5. 5. Companies are taking stock of natural capital  Natural capital creates value through ecosystem services, the “free” deliverables provided to business and society by  A healthy planet, including clean water, breathable air, pollination, recreation, habitat, soil formation, pest control, a liveable climate, and other things we generally take for granted because we don’t directly pay for them.  Companies are under increasing pressure to measure, if not manage, their impacts on and dependence to natural capital. 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants5
  6. 6. Sustainability becomes a matter of risk and resilience  Companies in a world of constraints relates to the availability of energy, water, and other resources; where the toxicity of products or manufacturing processes present perils all the way up the supply chain; and where climate shifts can disrupt the availability of raw materials and threaten the well-being of employees and customers.  Understanding risk and sustainability meant learning a new language and translating it into their companies’ far-flung operations. 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants6
  7. 7. Corporate Reporting gets integrated  Integrated reporting – i.e. combining conventional financial information along with key sustainability data, in a much more investor- friendly way.  Sustainability reporting is not likely to go away — companies have invested too much reputational capital in telling stories and providing detailed information, and stakeholders have come to view them as a minimum requirement of a company’s sustainability commitment.  But as integrated reporting ramps up, sustainability reports will need to provide more detailed performance data relevant to broader stakeholders, insight into what is driving changes in metrics, and deeper explanations of management responses to social, resource, and pollution challenges 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants7
  8. 8. Materiality becomes material for investors  For more than 20 years, the Holy Grail for sustainable business has been to engage investors NOW investors are voting with their dollars and companies have no choice but to adjust their strategy and operations to align with investor interests.  In 2010, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) issued guidance regarding disclosure material risks related to climate change.  With the global push toward standardising information relevant to investors, and the growing interest in ESG disclosure by regulatory bodies companies will find themselves exposed to new questions and concerns on the part of shareholders and stakeholders 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants8
  9. 9. Companies look past their goals  An interesting challenge has emerged for companies that have been focusing on sustainability for a half decade or more: What do they do after they’ve met their goals?  Of course, no company of any size has yet claimed to be sustainable, and is therefore “done.”  As more companies look at their current and next set of goals and commitments, they would do well to consider a mix of goals that lead not just to reducing environmental harm, but to creating solutions that help customers reach their sustainability goals, too. 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants9
  10. 10. The Reset Button  Budgets Shrink, Teams Grow  While budgets have stayed relatively small, the size of sustainability teams at large companies continues to grow.  The New Convergence  The evolution toward a broader executive role to manage a combined EHS and ESG function is elevating the strategic nature of the role of sustainability within corporations. More and more environmental and social issues overlap across a company’s extended supply chain, from raw materials through to end-of-life responsibilities for products. This increasingly requires a single point of responsibility to coordinate these important activities. 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants10
  11. 11. Challenges Ahead  In the drive for greater transparency, companies are losing sight of the bigger sustainability picture  Companies are increasingly providing reliable accounts of their sustainability programmes. However, on a global scale they are far from delivering solutions to the most pressing sustainability problems.  Companies are increasingly aware of sustainability issues and actively integrate sustainability into core business strategy and decision-making. They are opening up and describing in detail how they define material issues, engage stakeholders and join multi- stakeholder initiatives. However, as they become more responsive to the sustainability reporting guidelines and other reporting frameworks, they are failing to adequately put their performance into context. 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants11
  12. 12. How can we become better?  Innovation is the key  A common theme of successful sustainability programmes is innovation. These are specific business innovation approaches: embedding sustainability into systematic innovation, applied company-wide, disseminated to supply chains and throughout product lifecycles, based on internal and external stakeholder feedback.  We can learn from the high-risk industries  The most robust management and governance arrangements continue to be demonstrated by the traditional ‘high-risk’ industries. In these sectors – petroleum, mining, heavy manufacturing – the primary corporate responsibility is to deliver the building blocks of society and growth in a manner that is, put simply, less bad. Although companies in these sectors are rarely invoked as models of sustainability, many have pioneered in some of the most important areas. 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants12
  13. 13. Leadership challenges  The largest companies fall short of sustainability leadership:  A lack of balance still pervades reporting  Many large companies, including those who demonstrate some advanced sustainability practices, still tend to gloss over some significant negative social and environmental impacts.  The most important leadership challenge facing business today is the integration of sustainability into core business functions. And integrating sustainability into business is perceived to be the most important focus for business in order to fast-forward progress on sustainability. 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants13
  14. 14. How far we have come  Stakeholder engagement basics are in place  Most companies now engage stakeholders across a variety of channels – in particular, surveys, materiality workshops and NGO/multi-stakeholder initiatives. Even so, genuine two-way engagement at board level is rare.  There is a trend towards the use and reporting of indicators and targets  One of the key trends last year has been the growth in indicators and targets. Most companies continue to expand the number of indicators against which they report. While target-setting isn’t quite as impressive, we have seen an increase in the number of companies committing to sustainability targets.  Take-up of web-based and interactive reports continues to grow  Most leading reporters provide content duplicated across both their website(s) and downloadable reports. Websites themselves are becoming more interactive and even some downloadable PDF format reports are interactive. 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants14
  15. 15. Global Research – Reporting Progress  What the best reporters did best in 2012  Focused on real important stuff - presenting strategy, marketplace, KPIs, risk – in a joined-up way  Explained their business model and how sustainability contribute to and support value creation  Supported strategic discussion with information about the key resources and relationships necessary to successfully deliver their objectives  Discussed key trends across their markets, backed up with relevant data  Updated their risk disclosures to reflect developments in 2011/2011. And discussed risk management frameworks and processes.  Gave equal billing to financial and non-financial KPIs – and integrated both through the business review  Explained the business case for sustainability. The very best linked sustainability to strategy  Reconsidered how governance is communicated 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants15
  16. 16. Reporting Progress – Some challenges  Telling a story - the overall quality of reporting has improved across sectors, with more companies using reporting as an opportunity to tell their sustainability story, rather than a compliance exercise  Progressive disclosure - the use of digital channels to provide detail that sits outside 'the report' is becoming more routine  Targets - more reports feature sustainability targets, though these are frequently too qualitative  Assurance and standards - there's been more extensive use of external assurance and compliance with GRI guidelines  Stakeholder engagement - remains weak in terms of evidence of impact and dialogue  KPIs - clearly defined KPIs are still largely absent, and data remains patchy  Interactivity - there's plenty of room for improvement in online reporting, with baffling user journeys being common practice, signposting leaving a lot to be desired, and limited usage of online dialogue and interactivity 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants16
  17. 17. Where to place the focus?  Integrated reporting is still in its infancy  An increasing number of companies are moving towards the integrated reporting of sustainability and financial issues. However, this continues to be challenging for the largest companies.  The first major hurdle is comparability. Sustainability impacts, when they can be measured in financial terms, tend to pale in comparison to the fiscal impacts of more traditional business drivers. More often than not, it is difficult to determine quantitative metrics for sustainability aspects, let alone monetary figures.  The second hurdle is that obtaining meaningful data on non-financial performance at the scale needed remains elusive  Some companies have simply combined financial and non-financial issues into one report without consideration of how these issue areas compare in significance. Others have moved toward summary reports and highlights of sustainability to supplement the annual financial report. There is little consensus yet on the future shape of integrated reporting. 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants17
  18. 18. Challenges in specific areas  Significant progress is perceived to have been made over the past 20 years on sustainability reporting  Health and safety has made the most significant progress over the past 20 years.  Water is one of the issues in which business has made the least progress on over the past 20 years.  Two other areas in which business has made the least progress, is sustainable consumption and public policy, and these are areas that appear to be the greatest challenges for future progress. 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants18
  19. 19. Going Forward  Human rights, workers’ rights, and climate change seems to be the priority focus of organisation’s sustainability efforts over the next year.  Energy management in operations is overwhelmingly seen as the main priority in carbon reduction strategies.  Other areas requiring focus:  The challenges of establishing an impactful strategy, scaling up projects globally, and gaining resource commitments from senior management are seen as significant challenges. 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants19
  20. 20. What stakeholders want  More balanced reporting – reports are not a reflection of reality  More information on employee diversity and equality  Not enough long term targets set  Not enough focus on most material issues  Approach to sustainability not clear  Lack of accessibility of information  Lack of satisfactory explanations for poor performance  More information on specific sustainability programs  Inaccuracy in reporting information  More local information – business opportunities and impacts  More benchmarking/comparability/explaining of data 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants20
  21. 21. Some constraints remain - Organisational  Time and resource (financial and human) constraints  Lack of organisational buy-in and commitment  Difficulties in evaluating and measuring performance  Managing impact and risk – risk aversion  Difficulty integrating sustainability with organisational values and priorities  Understanding and managing regulatory impacts  Developing new products and services that consider / mitigate / reduce environmental and social impact  Improving supply chain practices and policies  New themes – corruption, collusion, bribery, ethics, carbon tax 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants21
  22. 22. Contact  Reana Rossouw  Next Generation Consultants  Specialists in Corporate Sustainability and Integrated Sustainability as well Social Investment and Development  Tel: (011) 2750315  E-mail: rrossouw@nextgeneration.co.za  Web: www.nextgeneration.co.za 25/02/2013Next Generation Consultants22