SUSTAINABILITY/ESG

The Corporate Reporting Dialogue is a joint effort among eight organizations that set reporting standards (Carbon Disclosure Project, Climate Disclosure Standards Board, Global Reporting Initiative, International Accounting Standards Board, International Integrated Reporting Council, International Organization for Standardization, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and Financial Accounting Standards Board). Key documents right now are:

Corporate Reporting Landscape Map, which summarizes the various reporting initiatives and provides links to more information.

Statement of Common Principles of Materiality of the Corporate Reporting Dialogue (March 2016).

The United Nations Global Compact Guide to Corporate Sustainability (December 2014) states that one of the five things that sustainable companies do is report on their progress.

About the Communication on Progress (COP)

UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework (focused on human rights).

SEC Interpretive Release, Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change, effective February 8, 2010.

Global Reporting Initiative. “GRI promotes the use of sustainability reporting as a way for organizations to become more sustainable and contribute to sustainable development.”

Forging a path to integrated reporting (October 2016)

Sustainability Reporting Standards Hub

The Next Era of Corporate Disclosure: Sustainability and Reporting 2025 Project (March 2016)

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. “SASB is working to increase the usefulness of information available to investors, and improve corporate performance on the environmental, social, and governance issues most likely to impact value.”

The Future of Sustainability Disclosure: What Remains Unchanged in an Environment of Regulatory Uncertainty? Keynote address by former SEC Commissioner Elisse B. Walter at the December 1, 2016, SASB Symposium.

Library of guidance and insights

The State of Disclosure 2016

Implementation Guide for Companies (November 2015)

Climate Disclosure Standards Board. “CDSB is an international consortium of business and environmental organizations committed to the integration of climate change-related information into mainstream corporate reporting.”

Framework for reporting environmental information & natural capital (June 2015)

Frequently Asked Questions on Corporate Sustainability Reporting (2013)

Communicating climate change in mainstream reports (March 2013)

Final Report: Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (June 2017).

Sustainability Framework 2.0: Professional Accountants as Integrators (March 2011), by the International Federation of Accountants.

International Integrated Reporting Council. The IIRC “is a global coalition of regulators, investors, companies, standard setters, the accounting profession and NGOs.”  One goal is to blend ESG reporting with traditional financial reporting.

“Creating Value” series of reports (research, case studies, trends, and more)

The International Integrated Reporting Framework (December 2013)

Showcase of recognized integrated reports

Center for Political Accountability. “The Center for Political Accountability (CPA) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that was created to bring transparency and accountability to corporate political spending.”

London Stock Exchange Group, Revealing the full picture: Your guide to ESG Reporting (February 2017).

Sustainly is a consulting firm focused on sustainability communications. Here are some of their recent publications [free registration required to access documents]:

Global Goals Trend Briefing (2017).

The 6th Annual Social Media Sustainability Index (2016).

The Big Brand Report 2016: How 165 of the Biggest Brands Talk Sustainability on Facebook.

Investing for a Sustainable Future: Findings From the 2016 Sustainability Global Executive Study and Research Project, published by MIT Sloane School of Management (May 2016) [free registration required].

Corporate Citizenship (a consultancy), in association with S&P Dow Jones Indices, Getting on the right track: How to demonstrate the value of sustainable business to investors (2016) [free registration required]

Reporting with purpose: Being distinctive, strategic and relevant in your sustainability reporting, by PWC (UK) (November 2016) [free registration required to download the full report]

Deloitte’s Sustainability group, which offers reporting, compliance, and assurance services, has produced several helpful reports:

Navigating the evolving sustainability disclosure landscape (September 2014)

Disclosure of long-term business value (2013)

Going from good to great (2012)

Other resources on sustainability reporting and integrated reporting

EY’s climate change and sustainability services group offers practical tips for integrated reporting and a more formal report called Sustainability reporting–the time is now (2014).

The State of CSR Reporting and Communications 2016, by Ethical Corporation, identifying key trends and opportunities for reporting (free registration required).

The Role of the Corporation in Society: Implications for Investors (September 2015), published by Calvert Investments.

Sustainability goes mainstream: Insights into investor views (May 2014), published by PwC.

The road ahead: The KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2017, published by KPMG International.

See Change: How Transparency Drives Performance, by SustainAbility (October 2014).

An in-depth study on sustainability transparency practices around the globe (June 2014), published by S&P Dow Jones Indices in cooperation with RobecoSAM.

The Conference Board Initiative on Sustainability offers a lot of research [some of which requires a paid membership to access].

The investor study: Insights from PRI signatories, prepared by the UN Global Compact and Accenture (June 2014).

The Climate Registry establishes consistent, transparent standards throughout North America for businesses and governments to calculate, verify and publicly report their carbon footprints in a single, unified registry.”

The Governance & Accountability Institute, a research, monitoring, and advisory organization, offers some helpful research about sustainability reporting.

Chart prepared by the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings comparing sustainability principles from several organizations.

Ceres, “a nonprofit organization mobilizing business and investor leadership on climate change, water scarcity and other sustainability challenges,” has produced several reports:

21st Century Engagement: Investor Strategies for Incorporating ESG Considerations Into Corporate Interactions (May 2015) (with Blackrock) [free registration required to download full report]

Gaining ground: Corporate progress on the Ceres roadmap for sustainability (April 2014) [free registration required to download full report]

Cool response: The SEC and corporate climate change reporting (February 2014)

Disclosing climate risks & opportunities in SEC filings (February 2011)

Climate risk disclosure in SEC filings (June 2009)

Columbia Law School, Climate Change Securities Disclosures Resource Center.

Directive 2014/95/EU of the European Parliament (October 22, 2014), requiring companies with more than 500 employees to report annually on “environmental, social and employee matters, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery matters.”

The Materiality of Nonfinancial Information: A Review of Theory and Empirical Evidence on Sustainability Disclosures, Corporate Social Responsibility and Responsible Investing, by Amir Amel-Zadeh (September 2016).

Corporate Sustainability and Disclosure, by Katayun I. Jaffari (March 2015).

Sustainability Reporting: The Lawyer’s Response, by (January 2015).

Investor Interest in Nonfinancial Information: What Lawyers Need to Know, by Douglas Y. Park (January 2015).

5 Keys to Producing Successful Sustainability Reports, by Paul Leavoy, LNS Research (November 12, 2014).

Adding value through sustainability reporting, published by Corporate Citizenship (July 2012).

The CEO water mandate: Corporate water disclosure guidelines (September 2014).

Baker & McKenzie Client Alert: What is the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and how does its work affect your company? (September 2014).

From the stockholder to the stakeholder: How sustainability can drive financial outperformance, published by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at University of Oxford and Arabesque Asset Management (September 2014).

Sustainability Accounting and Reporting–FAQs. American Institute of CPAs.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Issues in Institutional Investor Decision Making, The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (2010).

CorporateRegister.com and CSRWire both maintain directories of CSR and sustainability reports.

TriplePundit’s CSR Report Review evaluates reports for credibility and asks whether they are more PR or CSR.

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