As part of my journey to using a more fully “integrated” framework of the capitals that form the foundation of today’s companies, I attended three conferences in the last month (phew!). They came in quick succession and I’m still digesting it all. But I promised a number of people in our community that I would share some impressions. Here are some first thoughts with more to follow.
I’m going to start by sharing what I learned at what was billed as the Official IIRC Convention. The one-day meeting included good mix of corporates doing IR, representatives of professional bodies (IIRC, CIMA, GRI etc) and different kinds of advisors. There was no attendee list which seemed strange to me but may be a European thing. My view is that these are the early days of the movement and there would be value in building the network, letting people know who else is interested.
One of the key sponsors was CIMA which shared their FM Magazine Leadership Special Issue (available for download at Amazon). Released at the conference, there was a great history of integrated reporting going back to Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The article explains that Professor Mervyn King, considered the architect of the <IR> movement:
Came up with the concept after being asked by Mandela, who was soon to be elected president of South Africa, to redraw the nation’s corporate governance system for a society starting to emerge from the fast-crumbling apartheid regime.
The first steps were to address sustainability but “the problem was that firms started doing this completely separately from financial reporting.” This led to the concept of reporting holistically about value creation including all of the six capitals. The work of the King Commission was picked up by the UN and eventually led to a summit convened by the Prince of Wales that included standards boards from around the world. The IIRC was born out of this effort.
The movement is now to the point where some 1,000 companies around the world produce integrated reports. This is tiny on a percentage basis but more and more companies are beginning to talk about integrated reporting and what it might mean for them. At this conference, there were over 180 people from 24 countries. There was a good mix of vision, theory and practice. There were some great stories from corporates like Nestle, Generali, DBS, Enagas, all of whom produce different kinds of internal and external reporting which may or may not be called an “integrated report.”
Just a few ideas that stuck with me:
Bottom line, there’s a lot of interesting work being done internationally. What does that mean for U.S. companies? I’ll take that subject on in my next post.