Integrated reporting proving its value

15 Mar 2016
SOURCE:
Sustainable Business Council

Integrated reporting

This week the CEO of the International Integrated ReportingCouncil (IIRC) Paul Druckman is in New Zealand to share his insights on the benefits of integrated thinking and reporting.

Integrated Reporting is proving its value for a growing number of companies and organisations that have adopted the reporting framework over the past three years - from our very own New Zealand Post and Sanford to Itau Unibanco in Brazil, SAP, or the UK SOE, the CrownEstate. We asked New Zealand Post and Sanford about their experience using the IR framework so far.

Sanford

How long has it been since you started using Integrated Reporting? We produced our first IR in 2014, our second in 2015 and we intend to use the IR format in 2016.

Why did you start using IR? We wanted to tell the story of our progress in a more well-rounded and holistic way than the traditional annual report format.Transparency is also a key driver for Sanford and we feel the IR format demands a higher level of rigour in reporting our activities across the social, environmental and economic indicators. We wanted to engage with a future generation of employees who think in a much more integrated way.

What is the biggest change you have seen within your business since you started using IR? The level of interest from and interaction with our different stakeholders has grown since moving to the IR format.

Is this what you expected when you started out? Yes, we hoped to strengthen stakeholder relationships by focusing our reporting on the issues that matter most to them.

What were the main challenges you faced when building integrated thinking into your business? Getting to grips with a very different reporting format. We needed to move past integrated simply meaning the combining of our sustainability report with our annual report. Each report sees more progression on this front but the journey to refine and improve continues.

What is the business value you have got from using IR and has this changed over the years you have been using it? The IR has had great value as a communication vehicle to tell our story in a compelling and well-rounded way. It has also increased the focus on materiality – what is really important to our stakeholders both internal and external.

What is the one piece of advice you would give another business that might be considering using integrated reporting? Plan well in advance – integrated reporting requires different thinking and a different approach which ideally drives and informs the sustainability and/or business strategy.

See Sanford's 2015 Annual Report

New ZealandPost

How long has it been since you started using Integrated Reporting? We produced our first integrated report in 2013. Prior to that, we were the only New Zealand members of the International Integrated Reporting Pilot programme, which kicked off in November 2011.

Why did you start using IR? We were are the start of our five year business transformation programme which included the consolidation of different parts of our business. We felt IR offered a strategic and holistic way to view our business and help remove silos. It has also helped us to understand all of the different types of resources or capitals our business relies on to be successful.

What is the biggest change you have seen within your business since you started using IR? It has provided us with a clearer view of all of the assets and resources our business relies on to be successful and it has helped us to integrate our sustainability work into our business planning and reporting.

Is this what you expected when you started out? Pretty much. We've also engaged more stakeholders in discussions around our material matters, which is valuable for our long term planning.

What were the main challenges you faced when building integrated thinking into your business?  Helping busy colleagues see the benefits of changing how we plan, measure and report on what they do. However providing a consistent and focused framework linked to our business goals makes planning and reporting easier and helps us focus on what matters most.

What is the business value you have got from using IR and has this changed over the years you have been using it? Challenging us to think about the value that we create as an organisation - what are the unique activities we do and how does this add value to our stakeholders. This isn't surprising given we are a complex organisation on a journey to make our business more customer-centric and less complicated!

What is the one piece of advice you would give another business that might be considering using integrated reporting? Get started! IR makes good business sense.

See New Zealand Post's Annual Review 2015

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