Leading global companies improve sustainability reporting – study

04 Oct 2016, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria


The report shows progress by many of the leading global companies in integrating the SDGs into their business.

The 2016 edition of Reporting matters, the annual publication that provides companies with clear non-financial reporting guidance, was released on Tuesday by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and Radley Yeldar. The report highlights positive progress by many of the world’s leading companies in integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their business.

The report was developed by WBCSD, a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses and partners working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world; and Radley Yeldar, a London-based creative consultancy. In a statement released today, WBCSD said the fourth edition of its Reporting matters showcases examples of good practice that can be shared among members and provides insights into how companies have started communicating on the SDGs and integrating the Goals into their respective strategies.

Reporting matters 2016 shows that nearly a third of WBCSD members are already communicating on the SDGs in their corporate non-financial reporting. Since the first edition in 2013, 76% of companies have improved their overall reporting and 40% of companies have improved their materiality disclosures. The report comprises of sustainability and integrated reports from 163 leading global companies from more than 20 sectors and 35 countries.

“Mainstream non-financial reporting continues to gain momentum, and businesses that address sustainability challenges in their daily operations will be rewarded in the long run,” said Peter Bakker, CEO and President, WBCSD. “Simply put, more sustainable companies will be more successful.”

Other key findings from the report shows that 42% of organizations take a “digital first” approach to reporting by putting comprehensive sustainability information on the company’s website or a standalone microsite linked from the main website. It also shows that 28% of companies that took part in the research combined their financial and non-financial reporting into annual reports or self-declared integrated reports. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines are still the most widely used, with 80% of reporters using the G4 guidelines, according WBCSD.
“The findings also suggest we’re seeing more sophisticated digital approaches, with companies seeing the potential of digital platforms in helping to connect financial and non-financial information to tell one joined-up story,” Ben Richards, Consulting Director at Radley Yeldar, said.

WBCSD said it is working with its member companies and partners to provide businesses with the necessary tools that will influence investment decision-making to reward more sustainable companies.