Integrated Reporting: Who Cares?
Cheok, Mei-Ing (2013) Integrated Reporting: Who Cares? [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)
Integrated reporting (IR) is the latest in the evolution of corporate social and environmental disclosures. It seeks the holy grail of gaining mainstream acceptance in the investment community. I investigate and compare the perceptions of the investment community (considered IR’s primary target audience), sustainability experts and internal stakeholders (report producers), using Unilever as a case study. In this research, I find that while IR can help them make better long-term investment or financing decisions, the primary target audience have little to no awareness of IR. A key ingredient to the success of IR is to demonstrate to the providers of financial capital how IR can benefit them; in other words, show them what is in it for them. Highlighting the interconnectedness of the economic, ecological and social systems may help companies to question if ‘business as usual’ is sustainable in the long run or if there is now a business case for looking beyond financial capital in their strategy and operations. It is also imperative that clearer guidelines on the IR framework and performance indicators are provided for reporting companies, to aid better data collection and to provide consistency and comparability. Pressure from international bodies, civil society and role-model corporate leaders can motivate other businesses to embark on the IR process.
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