Some recent items in the CGMA magazine summarise some of the features and issues with integrated corporate reporting. Integrated corporate reporting means reporting means more than just reporting the traditional financial/economic type reports to shareholders. Instead, an integrated reporting approach considers social, economic and environmental factors. In the longer term, it can be argued that if firms ignore the environment and society, then firm itself may not be sustainable.
Ideally, a business should be able to prepare a single report which shows now only the typically legally required financial reports, but also how its financial performance affects society and the environment. Some global companies are already doing this. For example, PUMA publishes and environmental profit and loss which values its impacts in terms of resource usages (see here). The CGMA has embarked on an integrated reporting pilot programme over the next two years. They asked an investor, accounts preparer and an integrated reporting advocate for their views. They make for some interesting reading – click on the links to read more. One of the key points emerging is not the difficulties faced in preparing the report or getting the information. Instead, trying to introduce more non-financial data without increasing the information loads (mainly legally driven) given to investors is a great challenge.