Despite the advantages of adopting sustainability reporting practices, many business owners and board directors continue to view sustainability reporting as merely a compliance exercise. They also have the mindset that over-disclosure could result in leakage of trade secrets and loss of competitive advantage.
These were comments from Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) at the CFOs for Sustainability Reporting roundtable discussion, organized by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) in July this year.
To help new or early-stage Sustainability Reporting adopters kick-start their sustainability reporting journey, ISCA has developed a Sustainability Reporting Implementation Roadmap. The roadmap seeks to provide practical guidance on sustainability reporting implementation process as well as key considerations for the company’s first sustainability report.
The Singapore Exchange (SGX) requires listed companies to produce a sustainability report on a “comply or explain” basis from the financial year ending on, or after 31 Dec 2017.
The roadmap includes a compilation of questions asked by the early-stage sustainability reporting implementers in the market. These questions centre around practical implementation challenges faced, based on discussions with ISCA’s Corporate Reporting Committee and Sustainability Reporting Working Group.
“The true value of Sustainability Reporting lies in how businesses are able to successfully integrate sustainability within their business strategies, operations and processes,” says ISCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Lee Fook Chiew. “As the concept of Sustainability Reporting may be new to many, we developed the roadmap to help organizations formulate and execute their plans to achieve a smooth implementation of sustainability reporting.”
"Every journey starts with a first step, and sustainability reporting is no different. The new Sustainability Reporting Implementation Roadmap is a guide for companies embarking on their journey or seeking a path to better reporting, for the benefit of investors and societal stakeholders," says Tan Wah Yeow, ISCA Corporate Reporting Committee Chairman.
“Those with the experience will tell you that it is a marathon and not a sprint. The process takes time, effort and resources - but the results are also rewarding. It helps companies refine their stakeholder engagement, business strategy and operations.”
The roadmap is designed to promote thinking and discussion around sustainability reporting, and helps early adopters decide which aspects of sustainability are most important to their business.
The roadmap provides step-by-step guidance and by breaking down the process into six phases – planning, material assessment, target setting, data collection, report preparation and assurance.