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Communicating about Integrating Sustainability in Corporate Strategy: Motivations and Regulatory Environments of Integrated Reporting from a European and Dutch Perspective

Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility: Perspectives and Practice

ISBN: 978-1-78350-795-5, eISBN: 978-1-78350-796-2

Publication date: 28 July 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The authors have examined the developments in law and in practice concerning integrated reporting. An integrated report combines the most material elements of information about corporate performance (re: financial, governance, social and environmental functioning) – currently reported in separate reports – into one coherent whole. The authors first explore the motivation of companies and legislators to introduce integrating reporting. Next, they analyse how integrated reporting can be supported by legislation thereby taking into account the existing regulatory environment.

Methodology/approach

Literature study; desk research, analysing integrated reports; organisation of an international academic conference (30 May 2012 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands).

Findings

EU law needs adjusting in the field of corporate annual reporting. Although integrated reporting is currently being explored by some frontrunners of the business community and is being encouraged by investors, the existing legal framework does not offer any incentive, nor is uniformity and credibility in the reporting of non-financial information stimulated. The law gives scant guidance to companies to that end. The authors argue that amending the mandatory EU framework can support the comparability and reliability of the corporate information. Moreover, a clear and sound EU framework on integrated corporate reporting will assist international companies in their reporting. Presently, companies have to comply with various regulations at an EU and a national level, which do not enhance a holistic view in corporate reporting. The authors provide options on how to do this. They suggest combining EU mandatory corporate reporting rules with the private regulatory reporting regime developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Research limitations/implications

Focus on EU and Dutch corporate reporting laws, non-legislative frameworks, and corporate practices of frontrunners.

Practical and social implications and originality/value of the chapter

The chapter can provide guidance to policymakers, companies and other stakeholders who want to form an opinion on how to legally support integrated reporting. It addresses important questions, especially concerning how European and domestic legislation could be adjusted in order to (i) reflect the newest insights regarding corporate transparency and (ii) become an adequate framework for companies with added benefits for financiers and investors. Moreover, it reports on the benefits of integrated reporting for reporting companies. The authors argue that integrated reporting can be a critical tool in implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the main corporate strategy of a company.

Keywords

Citation

Lambooy, T., Hordijk, R. and Bijveld, W. (2014), "Communicating about Integrating Sustainability in Corporate Strategy: Motivations and Regulatory Environments of Integrated Reporting from a European and Dutch Perspective", Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility: Perspectives and Practice (Critical Studies on Corporate Responsibility, Governance and Sustainability, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 217-255. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2043-9059(2014)0000006021

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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