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Real Business : Issue 1 2010
cpacareers.com.au ...if they do things in an ethical and sustainable way, then good economic outcomes will occur. THE NEW REPORTING MODEL by CPA Australia CSR manager Jennifer Simon Environment, social and governance (ESG) reporting is becoming a vital aspect of disclosure among leading businesses. Also known as sustainability reporting, ESG captures attributes not communicated in financial reporting. ESG reporting is more future-oriented, captures a wide range of performance attributes in environmental and social areas, and is directed at a wider audience. Financial reporting is highly regulated, whereas sustainability reporting is company specific because each company's critical environmental and social issues are unique. Over time however, sustainability reports will become more standardised as frameworks, such as the Global Reporting Initiative gain greater acceptance. While financial reporting is closely aligned with stewardship and the communication of wealth generation, ESG reporting is underpinned by concepts of corporate citizenship and corporate responsibility. The two reports together provide a more holistic picture of a company's performance and values. where he s also the president of the local chapter of AIESEC (Association Internationale des Etudiants en Science Economique et Commerciale) the world s largest student-run organisation. He is passionate about the positive change individuals can make in society but understands that further to this, a real power of change lies within organisations. "Individuals can only do so much by themselves. Organisations have the scope to create major change," he says. "It simply takes people within those organisations to make that choice." He is speaking of sustainable business practices, of organisations taking responsibility not only for their profits but also for people and for the environment in the society in which they do business. "It simply means the organisation actually cares about the community it s working within at a local level and a national level and maybe even a global level," he says. Peter points to Standard Chartered Bank as an example of effective CSR. e bank looks towards the developing world for growth but it is also actively improving the lifestyles and education of people in many of its key areas of activity, including Africa and South-East Asia. " e bank works with the developing world and understands that it will be an area of expansive growth," Peter explains. " ey work with the local people to empower and build their communities for the future around key social issues. For example, the bank actively participates with their key stakeholders around areas of personal health and, in addition, they look after those in the community who don t have enough money to deposit into a bank." And that is one of the great powers of CSR done well -- the attraction of top talent. Jennifer Lauber Patterson, director of sustainability consulting company Innovative Carbon, which is based in Melbourne, says organisations with strong CSR policies not only retain staff but also attract talented people. When she worked on the carbon and renewables desk at ANZ, Melbourne, Jennifer was constantly amazed by the number of For more information, visit www.aiesec.org www.accsr.com.au www.cpaaustralia.com.au/sustainability people from the graduate program who d choose to work in her team. " ey were so passionate about it. is was an area where they really wanted experience and it is an area they felt they could make a real difference," she says. "At the end of the day, corporations are accountable to shareholders and if they do things in an ethical and sustainable way, then good economic outcomes will occur," she says. "Sometimes the rewards are not immediate. It does take investment and strategic thinking, but look at examples like IBM who reduced CO2 emissions by 40 per cent and saved US$250 million along the way." Peter and Jennifer both agree the future is challenging for organisations without an all-encompassing CSR program. "Leading organisations are currently looking at how they can change their business models, are investing in research and development, and are already on top of what s happening with renewable energy targets. ey will prosper but laggers may not survive," Jennifer says. " " JENNIFER LAUBER PATTERSON DIRECTOR, INNOVATIVE CARBON 33
Issue 2 2009
Issue 1 2012