Five framework- and standard-setting institutions of international significance, CDP, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), have co-published a shared vision of the elements necessary for more comprehensive corporate reporting and a joint statement of intent to drive towards this goal – by working together and by each committing to engage with key actors, including IOSCO and the IFRS, the European Commission and the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council.
GRI, SASB, CDP and CDSB set the frameworks and standards for sustainability disclosure, including climate-related reporting, along with the TCFD recommendations. The IIRC provides the integrated reporting framework that connects sustainability disclosure to reporting on financial and other capitals. Taken together, these organizations guide the overwhelming majority of sustainability and integrated reporting.
Transparent measurement and disclosure of sustainability performance is now considered to be a fundamental part of effective business management, and essential for preserving trust in business as a force for good. Yet, the complexity surrounding sustainability disclosure has made it difficult to develop the comprehensive solution for corporate reporting that is urgently needed.
Through this paper, the five organizations outline a shared vision that includes both financial accounting and sustainability disclosure, connected via integrated reporting. Foundational to this vision is multi-stakeholder standard-setting that greatly reduces the burden on reporting organizations while facilitating analysis, interpretation and action by users of information.
Users of sustainability disclosures have many various needs, which sustainability disclosure standards are designed to facilitate. In addition to understanding the impacts on society and the environment associated with an organisation’s activities, many users need to understand how these issues affect the organization’s financial performance and long-term enterprise value creation.
Acknowledging the importance of structured information to enable comparison, the standard-setters emphasize the importance of data being structured around agreed taxonomies and being democratized via a public data platform, as CDP provides for thousands of companies.
The joint statement from this group shows a commitment to engage with all stakeholders to achieve the globally accepted comprehensive corporate reporting system that is urgently needed. Through the various initiatives and calls for action from many players, including policy makers, there is a groundswell of support for a system change. At the same time, the statement also calls for feedback on the ideas expressed in the paper; for engagement with the standard-setters on all parts of the reporting eco-system to increase buy-in and urgent action for change; and for active support and help to achieve and evolve the vision that is set out.