By Vikas Vij — The corporate reporting landscape is increasingly complex, as different countries and organizations move to introduce new standards and revised frameworks. Companies with greater clarity on global reporting standards and principles are in a better position to measure and communicate their ESG performance, and manage risks and opportunities more effectively.
Recognizing the importance of sustainability reporting and disclosure, top global companies are making positive progress in integrated reporting as well as a consistent shift towards digital reporting. This is one of the key findings in the latest edition of Reporting Matters
– an annual review of the sustainability and integrated reports of the member companies of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) conducted by WBCSD and Radley Yeldar.
This year’s research by Reporting Matters
spanned 157 leading companies from more than 20 sectors and 35 countries. The initiative helps companies meet their reporting challenges by providing good-practice examples as well as general trends and benchmarks over the past five years. This helps businesses share insights across sectors for collective improvement.
The report reveals that nearly three in four member company reports reviewed improved their overall score compared to baseline year 2013. However, companies still face increased pressure to report on a growing number of disclosure requirements, while also meeting the needs of a wider variety of key stakeholders.
Key findings from Reporting Matters 2017 include:
* 74 percent of the member company reports reviewed have improved their overall score compared to baseline year 2013.
* 44 percent go beyond a traditional PDF report and include online content – up from 23 percent in 2014.
* 79 percent acknowledge the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in some way.
* 34 percent combine financial and non-financial information, up from 23 percent in 2013.
* The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is still the most widely used set of reporting guidelines and standards, with 85 percent of member company reports reviewed citing the GRI Guidelines or the new Standards.
* 27 percent note that executive compensation is tied to sustainability metrics in some way.
According to Peter Bakker, CEO and President, WBCSD, the report shows that there is clear progress towards transformative change that will be an essential part of delivering the SDGs. The trend toward online and integrated reporting is moving non-financial reporting further into the mainstream – positioning sustainability at the heart of corporate governance, financial and risk management.