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Article
Publication date: 12 July 2021

Subhash Abhayawansa and Carol Adams

This paper aims to evaluate non-financial reporting (NFR) frameworks insofar as risk reporting is concerned. This is facilitated through analysis of the adequacy of…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to evaluate non-financial reporting (NFR) frameworks insofar as risk reporting is concerned. This is facilitated through analysis of the adequacy of climate- and pandemic-related risk reporting in three industries that are both significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk from climate change. The pervasiveness of pandemic and climate-change risks have been highlighted in 2020, the hottest year on record and the year the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Stakeholders might reasonably expect reporting on these risks to have prepared them for the consequences.

Design/methodology/approach

The current debate on the “complexity” of sustainability and NFR frameworks/standards is critically analysed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and calls to “build back better”. Context is provided through analysis of risk reporting by the ten largest airlines and the five largest companies in each of the hotel and cruise industries.

Findings

Risk reporting on two significant issues, pandemics and climate change, is woefully inadequate. While very little consideration has been given to pandemic risks, disclosures on climate-related risks focus predominantly on “risks” of increased regulation rather than physical risks, indicating a short-term focus. The disclosures are dispersed across different corporate reporting media and fail to appreciate the long-term consequences or offer solutions. Mindful that a conceptual framework for NFR must address this, the authors propose a new definition of materiality and recommend that sustainable development risks and opportunities be placed at the core of a future framework for connected/integrated reporting.

Research limitations/implications

For sustainable development risks to be perceived as “real” by managers, further research is needed to determine the nature and extent of key sustainable development risks and the most effective mitigation strategies.

Social implications

This paper highlights the importance of recognising the complexity of the issues facing organisations, society and the planet and addressing them by encouraging robust consideration of the interdependencies in evolving approaches to corporate reporting.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the current debate on the future of corporate reporting in light of two significant interconnected crises that threaten business and society – the pandemic and climate change. It provides evidence to support a long-term oriented and holistic approach to risk management and reporting.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Article
Publication date: 7 January 2014

Subhash Asanga Abhayawansa

With a view to enabling organisations provide a clear understanding of firm value creation, several national and supranational institutions have produced guidelines and…

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2303

Abstract

Purpose

With a view to enabling organisations provide a clear understanding of firm value creation, several national and supranational institutions have produced guidelines and frameworks for externally reporting intellectual capital (IC). In many cases regulators, the accounting profession and accounting scholars have driven these initiatives. The purpose of this paper is to summarise, analyse and compare the guidelines and frameworks that have been developed with a focus on externally reporting IC.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyses the assumptions underpinning 20 guidelines and frameworks that have been developed with a focus on reporting IC using a self-constructed framework.

Findings

The review resulted in a comparison of IC reporting guidelines and framework based on target audience, role of IC within the organisational strategic management process and reporting IC indicator. It provides an understanding of the state of the art in relation to external reporting of IC.

Practical implications

The insights provided by the comparison of the guidelines and frameworks are likely to be helpful for practitioners wanting to adopt or develop an IC reporting model for their organisation. Policy-makers will find these insights beneficial when attempting to refine existing frameworks and guidelines for reporting IC and in developing new ones to suit various circumstances. Also, this paper provides a useful review for academics.

Originality/value

This is the first paper to provide a review of a large number of business reporting guidelines and frameworks with a focus on IC. It is a valuable reference for practitioners, policy-makers and academics on IC reporting models.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2015

Roger Simnett and Anna Louise Huggins

This paper aims to provide insights into salient issues in the development of the Integrated Reporting (<IR>) Framework, and emerging issues in the implementation of this…

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5143

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide insights into salient issues in the development of the Integrated Reporting (<IR>) Framework, and emerging issues in the implementation of this Framework, with the aim of identifying opportunities for future research. The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) has recently produced a reporting framework for the preparation of a concise, user-oriented corporate report which expands the scope of a company’s reporting using a multiple capitals concept and requires a description of a company’s business model, allowing a better communication of its value creation proposition. To gain international acceptance, the market-based benefits of adopting the framework must be demonstrated.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes the form of an archival analysis of the responses to the IIRC’s public consultation phases, providing insights into arguments for and against salient aspects of the framework, and identifying issues that would benefit from future research.

Findings

Identifying issues that arose during the framework preparation, this paper identifies a range of future research opportunities and outlines the research approaches by which academics can assess the costs and benefits of companies reporting in accordance with the <IR> Framework and assuring this information.

Research limitations/implications

Research opportunities associated with the International <IR>) Framework and associated assurance are identified.

Practical implications

This paper provides insights and details of the process of adoption of <IR> and has implications for adopters and assurance providers of integrated reports, standard setters and regulators. The development of a sophisticated business case informed by rigorous research will be critical to the further uptake of <IR>.

Social implications

Research opportunities identified include the expansion of the <IR> Framework to reporting entities other than corporations, including government and not-for-profit organisations, as well as measurement and assurance of a broader array of capitals, including social capital.

Originality/value

The paper identifies <IR> research opportunities from an archival analysis of the responses to the IIRC’s public consultation phases, providing insights into arguments for and against salient aspects of the framework that would benefit from future research.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 24 August 2018

Zihan Liu, Christine Jubb and Subhash Abhayawansa

The integrated reports published by companies vary significantly in quality in spite of them claiming to be compliant with the integrated reporting (IR) Framework issued…

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1416

Abstract

Purpose

The integrated reports published by companies vary significantly in quality in spite of them claiming to be compliant with the integrated reporting (IR) Framework issued by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). The purpose of this paper is to develop and apply a normative benchmark against which compliance with the IR Framework, and the extent to which integrated reports make visible how organisations create value, can be evaluated.

Design/methodology/approach

The three pillars of the IR Framework – Capitals, Content Elements and the Guiding Principles – are operationalised by the way of a set of disclosure items that capture the extent to which they manifest within integrated reports. The created disclosure index is applied to analyse reports of five companies that are expected to be superior integrated reporters.

Findings

The normative benchmark that was created to operationalise the IR Framework identifies a vast amount of potentially communicable information and various degrees to which information may be disclosed. The integrated reports analysed differ significantly in the extent to which value-creation stories are made visible, despite some of the companies promoting to have actively engaged with IR as participants of the IIRC Pilot Program Business Network. All selected companies performed poorly in comparison to the normative benchmark.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to provide a comprehensive normative benchmark for analysing and evaluating compliance with the IR Framework and the extent to which integrated reports make visible how organisations create value.

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Book part
Publication date: 28 July 2014

Tineke Lambooy, Rosemarie Hordijk and Willem Bijveld

The authors have examined the developments in law and in practice concerning integrated reporting. An integrated report combines the most material elements of information…

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.

Details

Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility: Perspectives and Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-796-2

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2020

Dinithi Dissanayake

First, this paper aims to explore the extent of the global reporting initiative (GRI) sustainability key performance indicator (KPI) usage in sustainability reporting by…

Abstract

Purpose

First, this paper aims to explore the extent of the global reporting initiative (GRI) sustainability key performance indicator (KPI) usage in sustainability reporting by businesses operating in Sri Lanka. Second, using a contingency theory approach, this research examines the factors which promote or inhibit the use of the GRI framework to adopt sustainability KPIs in a developing country context, Sri Lanka.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis and semi-structured interviews are used in this study to explore the key factors which affect the usage of the GRI framework by Sri Lankan companies in adopting sustainability KPIs and reporting on sustainability.

Findings

The findings indicate that the GRI framework is increasingly used for sustainability reporting by Sri Lankan companies because of its flexibility, consistency, legitimacy and its focus on continuous improvement. However, company managers also shed light on the extensive number of KPIs in the GRI framework making selections challenging and the consequent difficulties associated with adapting these KPIs for companies operating in a developing country context.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to extending the broader literature on sustainability reporting in developing countries and specifically on sustainability KPIs. Second, this paper adds to the current empirical research on sustainability reporting in Sri Lanka where the literature is still sparse. Third, this study highlights the key factors that support or hinder the usage of the GRI framework in a developing country context.

Practical implications

Important insights for GRI, other standard-setting agencies and businesses can be drawn from the findings of this study. By capitalising further on the training and the educational courses provided by GRI, GRI can be involved in mitigating some of the pressing issues faced by the reporting companies.

Originality/value

This study adds to the limited research on sustainability reporting and sustainability KPIs in developing country contexts. It shows how companies in Sri Lanka are engaging with sustainability KPIs and sustainability reporting, but are also constrained by the GRI framework as its standards are not tailored to issues in developing countries.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2021

Guler Aras, Ozlem Kutlu Furtuna and Evrim Hacioglu Kazak

The main purpose of this paper is to evaluate to what extent a public university, named Yildiz Technical University, integrated report provides disclosure on International…

Abstract

Purpose

The main purpose of this paper is to evaluate to what extent a public university, named Yildiz Technical University, integrated report provides disclosure on International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) content elements, suggesting the presence of integrated thinking, and whether higher education institutions’(HEIs) characteristics could affect the level of disclosure on that framework. Additionally, the purpose of this paper is to identify whether the Yildiz Technical University follows the IIRC framework and how integrated reporting can enhance the value creation for HEIs’ stakeholders in the context of voluntary reporting.

Design/methodology/approach

To conduct integrated reporting framework in HEIs specifically from a public university perspective, this paper has used a case study approach. Research data have been triangulated through interviews, questionnaires and finally, documents and archival records.

Findings

This paper gives insights into the reporting practices from a public institution, specifically from HEIs. Delivering high-quality services in an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable manner is significant to public accountability and transparency. The Yildiz Technical University has been the best example in disclosing non-financial information to its stakeholders and enhancing the accountability tool.

Practical implications

This paper can be a leading practice and can be considered as an integrated reporting framework for HEIs willing to follow the same path.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper is the first to investigate the integrated reporting framework in a developing country, under HEIs and specifically for a public university.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Book part
Publication date: 30 September 2019

Fatima Alali, Zhou (Daniel) Chen and Yue (Laura) Liu

The study examines sustainability reporting in the government and not-for-profit organizations (GNFPs). Using a descriptive approach, data from the Global Reporting

Abstract

The study examines sustainability reporting in the government and not-for-profit organizations (GNFPs). Using a descriptive approach, data from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) are utilized to identify GNFP’s sustainability reporting trends and incentives over the period from 2001 to 2016. The study shows improvement in the GNFPs’ sustainability reporting over the analysis period, especially by larger organizations. In specific, results show that the number of GNFPs that reported has increased over the analysis period, and the number of social, economic, and environmental issues that are reported on has also increased although fragmentally across different GNFPs. In addition, a few GNFPs integrate their sustainability report with their financial report or obtain external assurance. The study shows that GNFPs’ sustainability reporting is motivated by meeting stakeholders’ needs and achieving business goals. Based on these findings, the study identifies future reporting opportunities for GNFPs to improve informativeness and reliability of sustainability reporting with the ultimate goals of improving transparency and accountability. The data used in this study capture only the GNFPs that reported or registered in the GRI database. Thus, future studies may use other data sets or conduct field and case analyses to obtain further insights into the process of adopting and reporting on sustainability and the roles that different stakeholders play in pursuing such efforts. In addition, the study identifies other future research opportunities. The study contributes to the extant literature on sustainability and social responsibility during periods of changing regulatory framework in less-researched organizations that contributes significantly to society.

Details

Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-370-9

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Book part
Publication date: 12 March 2020

Sergio Paternostro

There are still many different theoretical approaches and practical interpretations about what an integrated report is. Starting from this premise, the overall purpose of…

Abstract

There are still many different theoretical approaches and practical interpretations about what an integrated report is. Starting from this premise, the overall purpose of this chapter is to critically analyze the relationship between integrated reporting (IR) and social/sustainability disclosure. Indeed, although some scholars considered IR as a tool to improve the sustainability approach of the companies allowing to disclose more relevant social information, others are more critical about the potentiality of IR to improve social disclosure. Therefore, the general research question is: Is there a natural link between IR and social disclosure (true love) or is the IR a practice to “normalize” the social disclosure and accounting (forced marriage)?

In the attempt to provide a preliminary answer to the research question, the chapter analyzes what is the approach of three categories: (1) academics; (2) soft-regulators; and (3) companies. From the methodological point of view, a mixed method of analysis has been adopted.

From the analysis of the three different points of view, IR can be considered as a “contested concept” because of the heterogeneous and sometimes conflicting interpretations and implementation that are done on this type of report. This leads to relevant theoretical and practical implications.

Details

Non-Financial Disclosure and Integrated Reporting: Practices and Critical Issues
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-964-4

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Article
Publication date: 19 March 2018

Jill Atkins and Warren Maroun

We are currently experiencing what is often called the sixth period of mass extinction on planet Earth, caused undoubtedly by the impact of human activities and businesses…

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2404

Abstract

Purpose

We are currently experiencing what is often called the sixth period of mass extinction on planet Earth, caused undoubtedly by the impact of human activities and businesses on nature. The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential for accounting and corporate accountability to contribute to extinction prevention. The paper adopts an interdisciplinary approach, weaving scientific evidence and theory into organisational disclosure and reporting in order to demonstrate linkages between extinction, business behaviour, accounting and accountability as well as to provide a basis for developing a framework for narrative disclosure on extinction prevention.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is theoretical and interdisciplinary in approach, seeking to bring together scientific theories of extinction with a need for corporate and organisational accountability whilst recognising philosophical concerns in the extant environmental accounting literature about accepting any business role and capitalist mechanisms in ecological matters. The overarching framework derives from the concept of emancipatory accounting.

Findings

The outcome of the writing is to: present an emancipatory “extinction accounting” framework which can be embedded within integrated reports, and a diagrammatic representation, in the form of an “ark”, of accounting and accountability mechanisms which, combined, can assist, the authors argue, in preventing extinction. The authors suggest that the emancipatory framework may also be applied to engagement meetings between the responsible investor community (and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)) and organisations on biodiversity and species protection.

Research limitations/implications

The exploratory extinction accounting and accountability frameworks within this paper should provide a basis for further research into the emancipatory potential for organisational disclosures and mechanisms of governance and accountability to prevent species extinction.

Practical implications

The next steps for researchers and practitioners involve development and implementation of the extinction accounting and engagement frameworks presented in this paper within integrated reporting and responsible investor practice.

Social implications

As outlined in this paper, extinction of any species of flora and fauna can affect significantly the functioning of local and global ecosystems, the destruction of which can have, and is having, severe and dangerous consequences for human life. Extinction prevention is critically important to the survival of the human race.

Originality/value

This paper represents a comprehensive attempt to explore the emancipatory role of accounting in extinction prevention and to bring together the linkages in accounting and accountability mechanisms which, working together, can prevent species extinction.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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