New NZX guidelines a tipping point for sustainability reporting

15 Jun 2017
SOURCE:
Alison Herft, Member Engagement Manager

 "The new NZX corporate governance code guidelines will be a tipping point for the maturation of sustainability reporting and integrated reporting. It will have a huge effect on business".

At the launch of the latest Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Review in Auckland last night, key speaker Dr Leeora Black said there was much cause for optimism.

Almost half the Kiwi respondents to the leading annual study of corporate social responsibility practices say sustainability reporting should be mandatory. The State of CSR Review is the largest study of CSR in Australia and New Zealand. This year 359 New Zealanders responded to the survey– the largest number to date.

Dr Leeora Black is the Managing Director of the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR) and says the results show that a top priority for New Zealand organisations is managing regulatory impacts.

And there's an emerging key focus - the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Gender equality came out as the top Goal that New Zealand companies want to address.

The Review also showed that the business case for sustainability reporting is strong. Respondents had said that the top business benefits from reporting were building stronger relationships with stakeholders,and managing regulatory impacts and the implications of technology.

Dr Black said that implications of digital technology include companies' social media policies that restrict what employees can publish, which could conflict with the organisation's CSR goals.

She also said, "Data security and privacy are a top CSR issue in New Zealand and Australia. The protection of citizen privacy is a corporate social responsibility".

A key finding was that a number of organisations are mapping both their business strategies and sustainability strategies against the SDGs. Dr Black's view is that new business opportunities will be developed by the use of an SDG lens on business activity, which will in turn stimulate innovation.

Alison Herft, Member Engagement Manager