The Reporting Exchange: Global platform launched to streamline sustainability reporting

As more companies switch to integrated reporting linking sustainability actions with financial filings, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has launched a free, online platform to help businesses navigate the increase in reporting requirements.

The Reporting Exchange was launched today (26 September) to help businesses deal with the more than ten-fold increase in the number of reporting requirements on environment, social and governance (ESG) issues. Notably, the platform aims to tackle the lack of coordination and the areas of overlap that can occur when businesses address these different requirements.

“Meaningful sustainability reporting can transform the global economy, and business has the opportunity to lead the way,” WBCSD’s president Peter Bakker said. “The Reporting Exchange is an important step in scaling up our efforts to achieve sustainability, and will be indispensable for anyone who prepares, delivers or studies corporate sustainability reports.

“We look forward to a world where the best companies compete on sustainability performance. The Reporting Exchange will initiate a swift ‘race to the top’ – understanding what to report on and how to report will bring business a long way towards achieving sustainable development as an output of daily operations.”

Leading businesses such as Heineken have made the decision to couple sustainability and financial reporting, as part of a wider movement to bridge the gap between financial decisions and climate mitigation.

Policy movements, such as the introduction of the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive, are being supported at a business level through the final recommendations listed by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

With more than 100 businesses, including Unilever, Barclays and HSBC, all committing to implement the TCFD’s recommendations to disclose climate information as part of mainstream financial statements, the way businesses report on sustainability progress is changing.

In fact, nearly a third (30%) of world-leading companies are now implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework into their sustainability and integrated reports. With this in mind, the Reporting Exchange will gather trustworthy and accessible information to streamline the understanding of what businesses can report on, and how they should report it.

Sending signals

The Reporting Exchange includes information on ESG reporting requirements and resources from more than 60 countries. It will list information of everything from mandatory regulation to voluntary standards and stock exchange listing requirements.

Outside of the business sphere, investors and policymakers can use the Reporting Exchange to gather comprehensive data sets on what they should be looking for when examining business reports.

Funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Reporting Exchange gathers resources from 70 sectors and is designed to be used by each sector as a collaborative platform.

In a new blog for edie, WBCSD’s manager of redefining value and key architect of the Reporting Exchange, Andrew Beanland, claimed that current financial system values on corporate success are “too narrow” and that capturing and reporting on areas like sustainability will help “send the right signals to the financial system about the true value and impact of business”.

Matt Mace

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