What is sustainability disclosure?
Sustainability disclosure is a process for publicly disclosing an organisation's economic, environmental, and social performance. An organisation's stakeholders increasingly expect more than just financial and governance information. Stakeholders also require information about company economic, environmental and social performance. Information included in a sustainability report should meet the needs of those stakeholders who include customers, employees, communities, investors, governments and others.
The number of sustainability reports produced globally has increased from about 300 in 1961 to over 3,000 in 2010 – this shows how sustainability disclosure is growing in significance. ACCA commissioned research in 2010 of the reporting trends in five ASEAN countries, which showed that some companies have already started to disclose sustainability data, many of them using the international GRI framework. View the ACCA report
Regionally, Europe continues to produce the most sustainability reports and North America and Asia continuously trade places as the second largest reporting region:
GRI reporting by region (source: Global Reporting Initiative)
Most Asian reports are from Japan and Korea, but this picture is changing. In particular, many Chinese companies are beginning to report and although most of these publications are only available in Chinese, we anticipate that they will soon be made available to an international audience.
Stakeholders and readers of sustainability reports recognise that sustainable business practices integrate environmental and social responsibility with traditional financial performance. Investors are also looking to sustainability disclosure for an indication of the long-term well being of an organisation.
The most widely used framework for sustainability disclosure is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The GRI is an international sustainability reporting framework which has been developed to help organisations to produce comprehensive disclosure to meet the expectations of a diverse group of stakeholders. GRI provides the principles and indicators that organisations can use to measure and disclose their economic, environmental and social performance.
There is a move towards integrated reporting , which is the practice of disclosing in an integrated manner both material financial and non-financial information. This concept stems from the belief that there is a need for a concise, clear, comprehensive and comparable integrated reporting framework structured around the organisation's strategic objectives, its governance and business model.
We believe that to remain competitive in today's world, companies are under more pressure than ever before to disclose data about their sustainability performance.
Last November, the Singapore Compact for CSR, with support from the National Tripartite Initiative on CSR and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore released a report on Sustainability Reporting in Singapore. The research, titled Non-Financial Reporting Among Mainboard Listed Companies in Singapore: A View of the Sustainability Reporting Landscape in 2010-2011, found that the number of listed companies engaged in some form of sustainable reporting increased by almost 25% in 2010.
For a copy of the full report, please contact Singapore Compact at 6827 6825 or email@example.com, or download the press release here.