Reporting standards – it’s a numbers game

March 26, 2019

The Corporate Reporting Dialogue launched a six-week global consultation process on Wednesday 20 March 2019, on how to improve alignment between the methodologies of reporting standards. The initiative counts CDP, CDSB, GRI and SASB – among others – as contributors.

The sheer number of reporting standards, and the lack of co-ordination between the methodologies, are two of the primary difficulties faced by corporate sustainability professionals across the globe. Work from the Corporate Reporting Dialogue, along with indications of progress across other frameworks, suggests a recognition of the growing reporting burden from the standards behind them.

Other cases where this convergence of methodologies is already well under way, include:

  • SAM, previously RobecoSAM, emphasised in its recent methodology webinar that collaboration with external partners (including SASB and CDP) continues to inform the development of the DJSI questionnaire.
  • CDP is on a trajectory towards complete alignment and coverage of the high-impact sectors identified by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) in its own questionnaires.
  • The Corporate Reporting Dialogue also released a report outlining how to improve links between the SDGs and company financial performance, through taking a co-ordinated approach across participants’ frameworks.

Recognition of the mutual benefits that greater convergence provides, both for respondents and for the frameworks, is a positive development. Whether it results in significantly reducing the reporting burden on companies, while delivering the decision-useful disclosures for investors, remains to be seen.