Integrated reporting -- the practice of embedding environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) information into corporate financial reports -- received another significant boost recently, when a group of financial institutions, professional bodies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and investors with $1.6 trillion of assets under management called for a binding international commitment requiring companies to disclose sustainability information.
The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition, led by Aviva Investors, urged U.N. member states to require public and large private companies to integrate sustainability information in their annual financial reports, or explain why they have not done so.
Integrated reporting has become an important issue for many sustainable institutional investors. The International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC), formed in 2010 by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and other organizations, published a discussion paper in which it stated, "Integrated Reports will meet the needs of a broad range of stakeholders."
GRI is also a member of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition.
The Coalition highlighted the key principles of transparency and accountability in its presentation at last week's U.N. Private Sector Forum on Sustainable Energy for All. National regulations should be developed to mandate integrated reporting, and mechanisms should be provided to investors to hold companies accountable for the quality of their disclosures.
The Coalition called on U.N. member states to adopt a global policy framework at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro next year.
Ernst Ligteringen, Chief Executive of GRI, stated, "Pioneering companies have proven the business case for disclosing sustainability data: Now is the time to ask the question, why don't you report?"
"Member states have an opportunity to drive us towards a sustainable global economy, by requiring that all large organizations report their sustainability impacts -- either in a sustainability report, or integrated with financial data -- or explain their silence," he continued.
This article originally appeared on SocialFunds.com.
Photo CC-licensed by Quinn.Anya.