Corporate disclosure on sustainability in Canada

Source: Stratos, 17 April 2008

Stratos today announced results of a national study examining sustainability reporting trends and the best practices of some of Canada’s leading corporations. The study, the latest in their series of biennial reports, highlights high levels of disclosure of corporate information on environmental, broader economic and social issues. The study found that disclosure of sustainability information by Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) Composite Index listed companies is now standard practice, with 80% including some environmental, economic and social information in their public reports.
The study examined leading reporting at BC Hydro, Enbridge, Syncrude, Suncor, TELUS, TransAlta and Vancity, highlighting best practices and examining trends in the areas of materiality, the use of reporting standards, and reporting on climate change and Aboriginal engagement:

* Materiality, a work in progress: Leading Canadian companies are grappling with the concept and implications of materiality in sustainability reporting. Leading reporters hint at formal processes, but struggle to provide sufficient detail to fully understand the rigour of their internal systems.

* Climate change reporting gets serious: Reporting on corporate activities to address climate change impacts is starting to take off, with leaders beginning to differentiate their products and services based on their climate impact.

* Increased moves to adopt global standards: Forty-five percent of Canadian reporters now make some mention of the internationally recognised standard for sustainability reporting, the Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines, with over 6% using the new G3 version of the Guidelines.

* Reporting on Aboriginal relations is critical in Canada: More than half of Canadian sustainability reporters (51%) discuss Aboriginal relations, highlighting the importance of the issue to Canadian corporations.

“Disclosure of information on sustainability performance is routine now among large Canadian corporations. We expect the next few years to see dynamic improvements with companies looking hard at how they can differentiate themselves through their sustainability reporting,” said George Greene, Chair of Stratos.