So we’re off and running in 2012. Places to go, people to see. Work to do. Lots. So what should take priority for those with Corporate Responsibility reporting responsibilities? These three questions may help:
- What are you doing to champion the value of integrated reporting within your organisation? It’s the latest push in the CSR/Sustainability field and for good reason. The case for greater integration between financial and non-financial performance is clear. Yet it’s always the how you go about adapting new concepts to your organisation’s strategy and culture that makes or breaks the change process. The IIRC’s discussion paper Towards Integrated Reporting includes some practical information on alternative pathways to integrated reporting (p20).
- Is your materiality assessment process robust enough? Regardless of your approach to reporting (stand alone versus combined versus integrated), this is the cornerstone of any good report and it’s only as good as the inputs and the analysis and engagement process that supports it. Now is a good time to ask the hard questions: is your materiality assessment done frequently enough? Have you engaged the right people internally at the right time in the process? Have you linked your process to other strategic planning efforts within the organisation? Have you done our best to seek input from key external stakeholders? Can you prove it? Do you need to address gaps with further research? AccountAbility’s five-part materiality test is a good reference point for what information to consider and disclose as part of this process.
- Are you communicating the right information to the right stakeholders in the right format and in the right forums? While the push towards integrated reporting is gaining pace, so too is the need to package up information for stakeholders that is relevant and accessible. So while the final reporting product is evolving into a more strategic, succinct and compelling performance narrative, there are additional demands to segment that story for key stakeholders. Communication planning is a core part of the CR reporting process and understanding stakeholder communication and engagement preferences should be a priority right from the start. What’s the point of all that work if no-one inside or outside your organisation uses the information?
If you’re still struggling with the answers to these questions and need a hand, let me know.
It’s what I do.