Ernst Ligteringen – Chief
Executive Officer, The Global
Reporting Initiative
That only the most basic information beyond the
financial bottom line was available to investors little
over a decade ago seems almost unimaginable now.
Today, thousands of companies worldwide produce
a sustainability report or disclose non-financial
information in one form or another. Indeed, the very
fact that a report such as this can be entitled
in Sustainability Disclosure’
demonstrates the sheer
extent of change.
The practice of sustainability reporting has
already gone well and truly mainstream amongst
multinational companies, with the figure standing
at 95% for the largest 250 companies in the world.
And “world” is most definitely the operative word,
as disclosing sustainability information is already
a listing requirement in countries as diverse as the
UK, Brazil, South Africa and China.
But what of the next tier of companies? Of the
thousands of listed companies that are still not
disclosing high-quality non-financial data? Who
and what will be the drivers for the next stage in
this information revolution? Traditional financial
reporting provides a relatively narrow, two-
dimensional snapshot of a company’s present and
future. Reporting on non-financial information is
all about providing business and investors with
a comprehensive, 3-D picture of how sustainable
a company’s business model really is. The global
financial crisis of 2008 highlighted like never before
the dearth of sustainability data critical for effective
risk analysis. Many investors such as pension funds
increasingly want to incorporate key sustainability
considerations into their due diligence, but markets
are failing them.
The challenge is how to replicate the critical mass of
material, comparable sustainability data disclosed
by the very largest companies with data from
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