What’s new at the International Integrated Reporting Council?

Updates from the IIRC convention, held last week

The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) held its annual conference last week in Amsterdam to discuss developments in the space. Here’s a rundown of some key updates from the two-day event:

The IIRC has developed an ‘elevator pitch’ to help market players understand “why the IIRC exists in an easy-to-understand way”. The full pitch reads: Businesses and investors globally now recognise a broader approach to creating value. When incentives only reward short term behaviour, our capital markets are weaker, society is poorer and our environment suffers. Integrated Reporting is a broad-based framework for business and investment decisions that are long term, inclusive and with purpose. The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) is a worldwide coalition with the mission to mainstream integrated thinking and reporting and to change the corporate reporting system so that this becomes the global norm.

IIRC recently launched an investor statement calling for better ‘extra-financial’ information from companies. The signatories include Aberdeen Standard Investments, Achmea, Aegon Asset Management, Cbus Super, Eumedion, Evenlode Investment, Hermes, Martin Currie Investment Management, NN Investment Partners, PGGM, Triodos and VicSuper. The statement says the signatories believe “ their investment processes require information on business models, strategy, and the resources on which these rely” and therefore need high quality disclosure.

IIRC says it is about to announce an “enhanced relationship” with the CFA Institute. CEO Richard Howitt told the audience that 130,000 investor professionals would “have integrated reporting become a core mission” as part of the new partnership. IIRC declined to disclose further details of the project, but said it would be announced in due course.The initiative published the results of its latest public consultation, which garnered more than 400 responses from 19 countries. IIRC concluded it was “not the right time to update the framework” and it would not update it until 2019 at the earliest. There were a “small number” of participants that wanted revisions, said Erik Breen, Head of SRI at Triodos Investment Management, but he added that “they could not justify it”.
The report was conducted “to set action for what we will do going forward,” said Breen, adding that a ‘First Steps’ guide will be released next year, as well as some proposal documents that will set out plans for future research.

The IIRC also published a report on the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the event, titled The Sustainable Develop Goals, Integrated Thinking and the Integrated Report. It describes the document as “early thinking”, saying it hopes to develop it further by creating case studies in partnership with companies, and by working with other standard-setting bodies such as the United Nations and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

The GRI also said at the event that it was launching a ‘practical guide’ to the SDGs at the start of next year, to help businesses make the most of its recently-published analysis on the subject. It said it wanted the two documents to be used to help firms prioritise and report on the most relevant goals. GRI was keen to point out that the work around SDGs – which it has been doing with the UN Global Compact – is “anchored in current reporting processes and do not create new norms and standards”. There will not be new reporting frameworks or hybrids of existing ones, it confirmed to RI.

Yvette Lange, an Associate Director within the PwC Risk Assurance team, focused on sustainability and integrated reporting, has been seconded to IIRC where she will join the technical team. She is based in South Africa. Brigitte Raffegeau de Coninck is also now with the initiative, on secondment from Deloitte in France.