It’s been over two years now since the launch of the International Integrated Reporting Framework, and everyone’s still talking about integrated reporting.
Many reporters certainly now know what integrated reporting is, and there are some great examples out there. But, having looked at the best integrated reports the world has to offer, we sense that a divide is opening up – one at least as big as that between companies who spurn integration, and those who embrace it. And that divide is the measurement of outcomes.
It seems clear to us that the integrated reporters who show, rather than tell, are the only ones able to truly convince their stakeholders that their company is doing something different.
These measurement-focused integrated reporters have the courage to cover not only value creation, but also value depletion. They talk plainly about cause and effect, and typically use the language of the ‘capitals’ (or ‘resources and relationships’) to do so. They are focused not just on inputs (‘we rely on A, B and C to do business’) and outputs (‘this year we achieved X, Y and Z’) but also on outcomes (‘this year our business affected A, B and C both positively and negatively’), and they don’t shy away from discussing value that can’t be quantified.
Why do some reporters go to these lengths? Because it means that they can offer their stakeholders concrete proof that integrated thinking is really happening. They can articulate a strong argument for the continued operation of their business. They can tell a richer, more holistic story in their reports (and across their communications) about the value their business creates, and the associated impacts. And, of course, they can demonstrate clearly how they plan to survive, and thrive, over the long term.
But what does all this look like in practice? For the answer, you’ll have to wait for our forthcoming Directions supplement, ‘Measurement matters’ (to be published mid-March). In this, we’ll explore what the most sophisticated integrated reporters around the world have to offer, and demonstrate that there are now many, highly impressive, integrated reporters out there, doing things that haven’t been done before.