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The global sustainability movement is making sustainability reporting an imperative for business and society

“Research has found that companies that operate transparently differentiate themselves from competitors.”

So writes Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, in a just-released analysis of the future of sustainability reporting.

Furthermore, Ms. Smith reminds us that “The value proposition for sustainability reporting is clear: By increasing disclosure and communicating firm goals and performance, sustainability reporting supports trust in brand, improves reputation, mitigates risk and drives performance and innovation.”

The new BCCC research scan on sustainability reporting gives new heft to a gospel that some corporate communications and public relations leaders have been preaching for some time. 

Moreover, it arrives in confluence with fresh news from the International Integrated Reporting Council, the leading global advocate organization for corporate Integrated Reporting. IIRC has pioneered “a new system of corporate reporting based on managing and communicating a broad-based approach to value creation.” It reports that Integrated Reporting is being adopted by more than 1,000 businesses worldwide.

Two days ago, over 180 representatives of business and investment organizations from 25 countries met in London at IIRC’s 2015 Official Integrated Reporting Convention. Paul Druckman, CEO of the IIRC, set the stage for reports at the convention: “… many companies are redefining the parameters of their own success … achieving a new balance between profit today and sustainable performance over the long-term. Integrated Reporting is the tool businesses need to make this transition…”

Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, CEO, E.L. Rothschild, Co-founder of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism and an Integrated Reporting champion, offered this appraisal: “Society is demanding inclusive capitalism, and inclusive capitalism is impossible without Integrated Reporting that measures people, planet and product.”

Among the participants in the convention: DBS Bank, Nestle, Marks & Spencer, The World Bank, Fujitsu, Deutsche Bank and JLL.