GRI has released the second report in their Reporting 2025 Program*, showing that the next decade will require concrete action on the most important matters if we are going to create a more sustainable business environment and world.
The GRI program aims to investigate and provide answers to key sustainability and business challenges that must be handled in the next 10 years. The second analysis paper the program was recently released, providing more insights into how sustainability leaders see the shape of reporting over the next decade. The report is based on interviews with a number of thought leaders within sustainability, among them the CEO of DNV GL Business Assurance, Luca Crisciotti.
Concrete action needed
The respondents all agree on one thing: the next decade will require concrete action from all organizations on what really matters if we are going to succeed in creating a more sustainable business environment globally. The current challenges are well known: Increasing world population, wealth inequality, climate change, conflicts, human rights violations and population migration will all shape the general context in which businesses operate and decision-makers act. There is also a strong belief among the leaders that these issues will intensify dramatically in the next decade.
According to the report, companies will be asked to engage publicly and concretely on specific topics, to use their operations and assets to help society tackle critical issues. Business leaders should set ambitious goals to tackle these issues, which require them to be better informed on the links between sustainability challenges and business performance and impacts.
“In DNV GL – Business Assurance, we work to support businesses’ in achieving sustainable business performance. We support customers with efforts that contribute to improving their performance to conduct business responsibly when it comes to economy/profitability, environment and SHE. Our customers show us every day that the findings in this report are aligned with reality. The only way to be successful in the future is to conduct business in sustainable manners,” says Antonio Astone, Global Sustainability Manager in DNV GL – Business Assurance.
Integration of management systems and reporting
The report goes on to explain that business leaders will need to proactively seek to break down operational silos and integrate the management systems of different departments in the company, in order to act more efficiently on the critical issues to be tackled. They will need to review business development models considering current and future limitations and opportunities.
Over the next decade, reports are expected to become more integrated, not only integrating financial and non-financial information, but also integrating disclosure and goals with organizations’ own supply chains and their partners’, aiming to clearly disclose companies’ efforts to tackle society’s issues. At the same time, reports are expected to be shorter and more relevant, but yet still explain the context.
It is also clear from the report that building and maintaining trust is becoming more and more important for organizations globally.
“Transparency and communication around your business conduct is a necessity in the sustainable business environment. It is the only way to show your stakeholders that you play by the rules and continuously work to improve on sustainability issues. This puts new challenges both on companies and players such as us, who provide 2nd and third party verification, assessment and certification that supports communication. The digital opportunities now at hand increase the likelihood of quality information as well,” adds Astone.
In the report, DNV GL – Business Assurance’ CEO, Luca Crisciotti, underscores how sustainability directly affects value creation.
Crisciotti said: “What I see is that those companies that are going to use natural resources effectively, and produce commodities in a sustainable way, socially, economically and environmentally, will succeed. We also have to consider that people are asking for responsible business models and more transparency.
Initial conclusions and insights from the entire Reporting 2025 project will be presented and explored further at the Sustainability and Reporting 2025 Forum in October 2015, and the final publication will be released in January 2016. For now, you can download the second analysis paper ‘Sustainability and Reporting Trends in 2025’, to learn more about what these expert insights into the future of reporting.
*DNV GL – Business Assurance is a part of Corporate Leadership Group on Reporting 2025, contributing to GRI’s Reporting 2025 Program