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Is sustainability reporting lost in the right direction?

ACCA & CDSB ask whether the fragmentation of the reporting landscape is resulting in the discipline failing to fulfil its potential.

From the creation of the Michael Bloomberg chaired Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures to the agreement of the Sustainable Development Goals, corporate sustainability reporting is finding a new impetus and audiences seeking better information to inform decisions designed to support a more sustainable future.

A new report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and CDSB (the Climate Disclosure Standards Board) suggests that despite progress made in sustainability reporting and its growing importance, the fragmentation of the landscape is resulting in the discipline failing to fulfil its potential.

ACCA’s and CDSB’s new report, titled Mapping the sustainability reporting landscape: lost in the right direction, examines the changing corporate sustainability reporting landscape, outlines its components, addresses current challenges and proposes development opportunities. It provides a considered overview of the trends, levers and drivers influencing the reporting landscape.

The report suggests that new and evolving expectations about corporate performance, new measurement criteria and the means by which companies are assessed, are calling into question the role of the corporation and the definition of corporate performance. For this reason, getting sustainability reporting right to meet evolving challenges has never been more vital.

Lois Guthrie, CDSB’s founding Director said, ‘The last decade or so has seen the rise of a new order of corporate reporting, which is radically different from the practices of the past. Despite this new momentum, we still lack an agreed way of describing the components of sustainability reporting. Through this report, we hope to prompt discussion among professionals involved in reporting who seek standardisation, rationalisation and order.

Jimmy Greer, Senior Manager Professional Insights at ACCA, said, ‘Sustainability reporting underpins the understanding of a company’s long-term economic value and contribution towards a more sustainable world. This report aims to better align the discipline with complex and evolving economic, environmental and social realities that are changing the face of how the private sector generates wealth and wellbeing.

Read the report here.