For many businesses, managing multiple disclosure demands and increasing stakeholder pressure for disclosing environmental, social and governance (ESG) information is an ongoing challenge. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) released the ESG Disclosure Handbook and Indicator Library to help companies address the issue. Both the handbook and the library provide practical resources for addressing key disclosure questions, dilemmas and decisions to support effective and efficient disclosure practice.
The ESG Disclosure Handbook provides a clear structured process to inform a smart reporting strategy, addressing the key questions that really matter. It draws on the concept and principles of professional judgement in accounting and offers a step-by-step process to help companies consider why, for whom, what, how, how much and where to report. The Indicator Library complements the Handbook by helping companies identify relevant indicators to manage performance and to use when preparing disclosures.
The Handbook and Library are the products of a four-month consultation which involved more than 100 individuals, ensuring that they are fit for purpose and as useful as possible.
Richard Howitt, CEO of the International Integrated Reporting Council said, “I congratulate WBCSD on the launch of the ESG Disclosure Handbook. The guidance in the document helps companies to identify the most material information report on their non-financial value drivers, including in an integrated report. I welcome efforts to streamline and rationalize reporting activity and help companies understand how to work through the options available to them.”
“These tools build on established accounting practices that guide the assessment, documentation and judgement associated with decision-making,” said Rodney Irwin, Managing Director, Redefining Value and Education at WBCSD. “We believe that for sustainability to truly become mainstream, ESG decision-making and reporting processes must adopt more of the characteristics and rigor associated with management and financial accounting professional judgement.”
The ultimate goal of the Handbook and the Library is to inspire better decision-making and to facilitate better communication between companies and investors. By helping companies report clearly, and by enabling investors to understand companies’ reporting processes, these tools will help ensure that companies who are managing their ESG-related risks and opportunities well are properly rewarded.