The Government of Canada announced today a new initiative on corporate sustainability reporting that will challenge Canadian businesses to report on their social and environmental practices and performance. This initiative is sponsored by four ministers: the Honourable David Anderson, Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Allan Rock, Minister of Industry, the Honourable Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Honourable Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of International Trade. In a letter sent to companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Ministers encouraged demonstrating corporate leadership by using the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Toolkit web site.
Sustainability reporting is a powerful tool for decision?making that will allow investors, employees, consumers and regulators to make informed decisions, said Minister Anderson. Already, over 80 Canadian companies are demonstrating their leadership in sustainability by producing these types of reports.
Corporate sustainability tools and practices not only help businesses improve their social and environmental performance but can also help drive innovation and competitiveness. To assist in these efforts, the Government of Canada, in collaboration with experts in the field of corporate reporting, has developed the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Toolkit web site.
Sustainable development is a value-enhancing proposition, said Allan Rock, Minister of Industry. The more we do to capture and quantify that value, the more we will reinforce positive competitive behaviour at the firm level and beyond. This Toolkit will make it much easier for firms to report to their stakeholders on the social and environmental dimensions of their business, demonstrating that sustainable development is good for the bottom-line.
Sustainability reporting in Canada is voluntary, however, a growing number of countries are establishing mandatory reporting requirements. In launching the Toolkit, Canada is demonstrating its commitment to agreements made at the WSSD to encourage industry to improve social and environmental performance through voluntary initiatives.
When Canadian companies act as good corporate citizens, they promote Canadian values and culture abroad and help to advance human rights and good governance, said Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham.
Promoting corporate social responsibility goes hand?in?hand with the government’s efforts to advance international trade and investment, said International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew.
The Toolkit contains information and guidance on several key points, including: benefits for reporters; key elements of a good quality report; and, Canadian and international case studies and best practices. Individual companies are encouraged to build on the guidance in the Toolkit, and to devise the structure and content of their sustainability reports according to the nature of their business and the interests of their stakeholders.