Fresh insights on Integrated Reporting and Integrated Reports
Johannesburg - South African listed companies have been grappling with the challenge of producing integrated reports according to the King III requirements, and research published this week will offer fresh insights into how to tackle the challenge.
This is the view of Bertie Loots, Leader, Integrated Reporting at Deloitte, the professional services firm, who says the initial practical experience in applying the new King III Integrated Reporting requirements has raised important issues that need to be further explored.
The latest research was undertaken by the Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, published by the United Nations Environment Programme and sponsored by Deloitte.
The report is titled Making Investment Grade: The Future of Corporate Reporting. It is edited by Cornis van der Lugt and Daniel Malan of the Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa at the University of Stellenbosch. More than 20 experts from various countries, including South Africa, have contributed chapters the report. Mervyn King himself contributed a chapter on stakeholders and market forces as drivers for integration.
The report commences with a discussion of the clutter of information carried in integrated reports and how to ensure that “investment grade” information is provided throughout. There is an early focus on the natural tension between quantity and quality of information carried in an integrated report.
The contributors note that notions of quality information will to an extent remain in the eye of the beholder, depending on the role and interests of the person using the information.
Loots says South African listed companies are required by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to report on the financial, social and environmental sustainability of their operations in accordance with the King Report of Governance for South Africa 2009 (King III) on a “Comply or Explain” basis.
“This is a very practical challenge, and opportunity, for companies to tell their story with credibility,” says Loots.
“We believe the role of a professional services firm such as Deloitte is to provide our view, based on empirical examination and analysis, on the state of the actual emerging practice of Integrated Reporting, and Integrated Reports, in South Africa. We see our role as active and constructive contributors to both the debate and the process.”
Loots says the contributions to the research demonstrate the pivotal importance of a reciprocal relationship between sustainability in all its dimensions and business models.
“We see more clearly the fundamental need of stakeholders to understand what actually happens around the boardroom table so that a coherent and credible picture of the firm’s strategy and operations are presented,” he says.
The report may be downloaded from:
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