Report WBCSD: "Sustainability reporting is setting the scene for the future of business management"

Source: WBCSD, 13 January 2003

A new WBCSD report on sustainable development reporting answers the worldwide call on companies for greater accountability and transparency by explaining why and how reporting can help turn the recent wave of boardroom scandals into renewed boardroom trust.
A by business, for business pragmatic guide, Striking the balance is co-authored by three industry leaders: Bert Heemskerk, Chief Executive Officer, Rabobank Group, Pasquale Pistorio, President and Chief Executive Officer, STMicroelectronics, and Martin Scicluna, Managing Partner, Global Strategic Clients, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. It is designed to encourage companies to provide a rationale, the business case, and tools to produce such reports.

Sustainable development reporting can help companies to mitigate risk, protect their corporate brands, and gain competitive advantage, the authors say. We hope our report will help companies to understand that added value.

The report covers three main areas:

a step-by-step guide to help companies to improve or develop their reports.
recommendations on how to bridge the gap between the information needs of the financial community and the reporting practices of companies.
insight into the debate on the standardization of reporting formats. The authors outline 5 dilemmas to establishing a framework for sustainable development reporting.
The mounting pressure from major stakeholders for companies to disclose information on a wider range of issues is shifting sustainable reporting from a past of voluntary undertakings to a future of specific and mandatory requirements.

There is a delicate balance here between what is realistic to expect companies to report on and what stakeholders want to see reported. Thats why our report is called Striking the balance, explain the authors.

As of mid-January, Striking the balance will be supplemented by an online facility. The reporting portal will feature practices drawn from some 50 WBCSD members ( Meant to be a living resource, this unique electronic forum will reflect the truly global nature of reporting as more reports are added.

Download the full report (pdf)