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Jarlath Molloy

Dr Jarlath Molloy CPhys, CDSB Technical Manager

A wide range of voluntary and mandatory external drivers influence reporting in the environment and sustainability domain. For example, many organisations may prepare and publish a range of information requested by CDP, Global Reporting Initiative, International Organization for Standardization, OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises, Principles for Responsible Investment, UN Global Compact, Water Accounting Standards Board (WASB) and this list may soon include CEO Water Mandate, International Integrated Reporting Council and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). A question you could legitimately ask is whether there is a need for yet another Framework?

The Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) is a consortium of business and environmental organisations formed at the World Economic Forum’s annual Davos meeting in 2007 and has been chaired by the managing director of WEF since. CDP has kindly provided secretariat support to us since our inception. We are supported by a group of leading industrial and financial services companies together with governmental and non-governmental representatives, who act in an advisory capacity to CDSB. A Technical Working Group formed of representatives of the major accounting firms and professional bodies, including ACCA, coordinates CDSB’s work program with expert input from academics and specialist collaborators.

We are committed to the integration of climate change-related information into mainstream corporate reporting. The Framework is designed to allow investors to assess the relationship between environmental performance and risks, and the organisation’s strategy and prospects. Moreover, it will encourage analysis and decisions which recognise the dependence of economic and financial stability on a healthy environment.

With the inclusion of this information in a mainstream report, the organisation’s environmental performance and risk is subject to the same International Financial Reporting Standards and assurance requirements as financial information. This information is centrally deposited with the competent national authority in a timely fashion and is publically available. We are working with regulators, CDP and the Fujitsu Research Institute to develop an eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) taxonomy to enable digital, structured communication and exchange of this information and closer alignment with financials in mainstream reports.

What sets CDSB apart from the chorus is that we set out to specifically harmonise reporting of environmental and sustainability risk. We have identified how the other reporting requirements link to each other and to our updated Framework. With the addition of cross-references to CDP, CEO Water Mandate, GRI, IIRC, OECD, PRI, UNGC, WASB and others we compliment their work, adding value by drawing it together in a meaningful narrative for responsible investors.

Our focus to date has been on risks and opportunities that climate change presents to an organisation’s strategy, financial performance and condition. The consultation we have just launched expands that scope into forest commodity risks (i.e. the drivers of deforestation) and water. The public consultation for the updated CDSB Framework opened on 17 February and will run until 19 May 2014. We invite you to comment on the draft and tell us if and how we can do more to address your needs and expectations. Visit http://www.cdsb.net/climate-change-reporting-framework/framework-consultation for more information and to sign up for our consultation briefing webinars on 19 March 2014.

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By Helen Thompson, head of PR, ACCA

IR can help restore trust in business, but now is the time to put the Framework into action

The launch today of the IIRC’s Integrated Reporting Framework is welcomed by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), saying this represents a landmark opportunity to break down the silos in corporate reporting.

Helen Brand OBE, ACCA’s chief executive says: “Now is the time to put the Framework into practice. This presents a significant opportunity to refresh corporate reporting and to place investor’s needs central to the process.”

ACCA believes that IR brings a number of benefits because it offers a focus on the long term strategy and performance of a business. The Framework centres on the material information about an organisation’s governance, strategy, prospects and performance that reflect the commercial, social and environmental context within which the organisation operates.

Helen Brand adds: “A better understanding of long-term risks to commercial models can only be of benefit to business and to the investor community. Explaining how corporate value is created and sustained is important, and the IR Framework enables business to do this.

“Ultimately, I hope that IR will restore trust in business – reporting models have been criticised in the past, but now is the time for change. I am sure the accountancy profession is ready and willing to show the necessary leadership to make that change happen.”

ACCA and IR

  • Helen Brand, ACCA’s chief executive, is a member of the IIRC’s Council;
  • Neil Stevenson, ACCA’s executive director – brand, sits on the IIRC’s Working Group;
  • ACCA’s global network has been raising awareness of IR and supporting the IIRC’s outreach work for a number of years;
  • ACCA’s Annual Reports for 2011 / 12 and 2012 / 13 have been produced using the IR Framework, giving a concise, clear and comprehensive picture of how ACCA has created value by making its strategy happen.