Held to account

Colleen Theron gives an overview of mandatory and voluntary sustainability reporting.

Rising trees

The heightened emphasis on transparency and accountability through corporate governance and disclosure has renewed the focus on the ‘triple bottom line’ – environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. Meanwhile, mandatory and non-financial reporting are converging. Companies are increasingly required by regulation – such as the 2013 reform of the Companies Act 2006, and the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 – to report on environmental and social issues. 

The Financial Reporting Council has published its annual Corporate Reporting Review for 2016/17. It highlights that expectations of corporate reporting are rising, flagging up two areas. First, companies are required to be more transparent about relationships with employees, customers, suppliers and stakeholders, and how they engage with them to ensure long-term success. Second, companies need to be explicit about how they generate and preserve values. 


What is sustainability reporting?

International standards body the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) describes a sustainability report as one published by an organisation about “the economic, environmental and social impacts caused by its everyday activities”. It will also present the organisation’s values and governance model, and “demonstrate the link between its strategy and its commitment to a sustainable global economy”.


Why do companies report? 

Companies choose to report on environmental ...

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