In the end of October, WBCSD (World Business Council of Sustainable Development) published the report of its study ‘Reporting Matters 2018’. Based on a survey sent out by the WBCSD in cooperation with the consultant Radley Yeldar 158 companies have been evaluated regarding their sustainability reporting performance. The results enable an analysis of current trends and long-term developments of corporate sustainability reporting.
Sustainability reporting – key findings in 2018
The ‘Reporting Matters 2018’ report shows some key findings in the beginning. A few of them are listed below:
- 89% of reports reviewed consider the SDGs in some way whereas 53% mapping their sustainability efforts to the SDGs and only 15% measuring their contribution (the main reason might be the lack of available metrics and data to measure the impacts)
- Integrated reporting increased: 33% of reports reviewed combine financial and non-financial information (18% are self-declared integrated reports)
- 83% aligned their sustainability reports with GRI recommendations whereas 54% of companies already transitioned to the GRI Standards
- 53% have created a webpage to show their sustainability report content in an interactive way
Besides that, WBCSD and Radley Yeldar also analysed long-term developments regarding sustainability reporting issues. The results are showing that now there are 10 times as many mandatory reporting requirements compared to 1992. Furthermore, in the past decade the voluntary reporting requirements have increased from fewer than 10 to 182, with up to 80% of these being issued by NGOs (see edie.net from 25th Oct. 2018).
The report of ‘Reporting Matters 2018’ is available here.
Outlook for the upcoming years
It can be assumed, that the identified trends mentioned above will be further intensified over the next years. Therefore, it is highly recommendable focusing on these points:
- SDG reporting will increase in future because it delivers, for example, a frame for aligning the sustainability strategy to long-term objectives. Additionally, the global goals generate big market and growth opportunities worth an estimated US$12 trillion by 2030 in business savings and revenue (see Better Business Better World, 2017, p. 13ff.)
- Integrated and harmonized reporting will increase as well because companies are able to reduce sustainability reporting efforts and burdens. Furthermore leading sustainability initiatives are working on a project to align existing sustainability reporting standards and frameworks better (see IIRC from the 7th 2018)
- GRI will remain to be the de facto standard for reporting sustainability issues as it has a high influence within the sustainability area and provides a very well framework for good sustainability reporting
- The future is digital in the sustainability reporting sphere means that we will see further interactive and segmented sustainability reports on a (separated) companies’ webpage. One advantage in this context is for example that you can address individual stakeholder groups more specific and provide information more precise
The DFGE has been supporting companies in their sustainability efforts since 1999 and has extensive expertise in CSR reporting and accounting. With customized service packages, the DFGE advises companies based on their individual needs. DFGE supports you related to various sustainability standards and frameworks like for example UNGC, GRI or SDGs. In cases of any questions, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 08192-99733-20.