Reporting Matters 2014 is the outcome of the second review of the WBCSD members’ sustainability or integrated reports covering 162 world-leading companies from more than 20 sectors and 35 countries. The publication aims to help businesses realize the value of reporting by showcasing how progressive companies are using the reporting process to drive change inside their businesses, and ultimately impact the way capital markets allocate financial resources.
Reporting Matters 2014, launched at the WBCSD’s Council meeting this week in Atlanta, sheds light on effective non-financial reporting practices and offers a pool of inspirational examples to stimulate the sharing of best practices. The review provides recommendations so that corporate reports can help companies create value for all stakeholders in the short, medium and long-term.
The research sample shows that the quality of corporate non-financial reporting is improving, and while there is a great diversity of approaches in the reports reviewed, it’s now business as usual in the world’s leading companies. The review finds that leading companies are increasingly demonstrating how trends in the external environment inform corporate strategy. This reflects progress on the long-standing reporting challenges of prioritisation of key non-financial issues, and connectivity of the content disclosed. Many also set ambitious goals against the issues they claim matter most to their business, track progress through KPIs, and provide a balanced picture of performance of their businesses over time.
Specifically the research found:
Year-on-year scores show a 19% improvement in the quality of disclosure on how companies prioritised the non-financial issues which matter most to the business and stakeholders
Better links between strategy, targets and performance in this year’s research – with “line of sight” scores improving by 18% on average across the sample
More timely disclosures were offered by the sample this year – with information getting to market on average 4.5 months after year end (2014: 6 months)
WBCSD believes that concise corporate disclosures which connect financial, environmental and social performance will play a critical role in challenging and changing perceptions of value – in turn driving the transition to a more sustainable and inclusive economy.