The Brazilian cosmetics, fragrances, and personal hygiene company Natura also published its first integrated report in 2002.14 Available in Portuguese and English, Natura's 200315 143-page annual report stated, "For the second consecutive year, Natura presents in an integrated manner a report on its activities in the economic-financial, social and environmental fields. Therefore, it reaffirms the commitment made to the many sections of the general public with which it relates and that is stated in its Vision of the World, which is to seek sustainable development, as well as transparency when reporting its initiatives."16 Like Novozymes, Natura emphasized a Triple Bottom Line approach without specifically using the term. The report stated that the challenge for the Natura Annual Report was to describe the impacts of Natura's economic, social, and environmental performance integration.17 Despite a section titled "analysis of the economic-financial, environmental and social results," the report was, like Novozymes', more combined than integrated. Also like Novozymes, the company reported on a number of nonfinancial indicators like job creation and the company's relationship with the communities in which it operates.
Natura was ahead of its time in two critical areas: life cycle assessment (LCA) and supply chain management. The latter anticipated the "boundary" issue, or to what extent a company is responsible for the actions of its suppliers. This is discussed in the <IR> Framework. Not only did Natura address compliance by using a GRI indicator concerning the discussion of significant environmental impacts of principal products and services as an "integrated approach of concepts, techniques and procedures to access the environmental, economic, technological and social aspects of products and organizations with an aim to continuously improve the lifecycle prospect," it also set a 2004 target to carry out a packaging LCA study on 100% of products launched and to cover 100% of the packaging of the product portfolio.18 Another 2004 target mentioned the Natura Environmental Management System and required the evaluation of environmental documentation of suppliers whose activities could impact the environment. No reference was made, however, to Accountability's AA1000 Assurance Standard19 or to assurance, and the term "materiality" never appeared. While there was no mention of stakeholder engagement by name, three references to stakeholders surfaced in different contexts.
Along with Natura, Novo Nordisk is one of the most frequently cited examples today of a company producing a high-quality integrated report.21 (Both companies have won numerous awards for their reports.22) Because Copenhagen-based Novo Nordisk and Novozymes formed a single company until a demerger in 2000, one can safely assume that Novo Nordisk was aware of Novozymes' first integrated report. Novo Nordisk followed suit in its 112-page 2004 annual report with what it referred to as its "Triple Bottom Line or TBL" reporting approach but did not call it an "integrated report."23 It is highly unlikely that either of these Danish companies was aware of Natura in those early days, providing evidence that when "an idea's time has come," it occurs independently and simultaneously in different places. In the case of integrated reporting, the concept appeared in dramatically different industries separated by country and language.
Novo Nordisk gave an explanation similar to Novozymes' and Natura's for why it was producing an integrated report, but in its implementation this Danish company went further. Much like that of the previous two companies, its integrated report evolved out of a commitment to "sustainable development." Unlike the others, however, Novo Nordisk cited its management ethos, "The Novo Nordisk Way of Management," which "explicitly referred to the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) - social, environmental and financial responsibility -as the company's underlying business principle."24 Furthermore, in March 2004 Novo Nordisk amended its Articles of Association to specify that the company will "strive to conduct its activities in a financially, environmentally and socially responsible way."25 In doing so, the company made it clear that its approach was intended "to serve the long term interests of its shareholders."26 Implicit in this statement was that shareholders' long-term interests are best served by taking account of other stakeholders' interests, an assertion that lies at the core of the movement's argument that it is in a company's long-term self-interest to adopt integrated reporting.
In its second integrated annual report, the company declared, "Novo Nordisk has chosen an integrated approach to reporting on its financial and non-financial performance. Hence, this report follows current international standards in terms of both mandatory and voluntary reporting."27 In this 116-page report, Novo Nordisk showed leadership in addressing issues at the heart of the integrated movement today: materiality, stakeholder engagement, and assurance. The annual report had an explicit discussion about materiality, an issue absent in its 2004 report as well as the earlier reports of Novozymes and Natura. It also discussed how stakeholder engagement was used to help the company identify the material issues to be managed and reported on:
Ongoing interactions with stakeholders, trendspotting, business monitoring and the integrated systematic risk management process are tools to identify the issues that are material to Novo Nordisk's business. The company's response to current and emerging business and societal challenges, in turn, is shaped in a closer dialogue with representatives of the stakeholders affected by the issue. As a result of this process, Novo Nordisk frames its strategic response and defines its targets. The company regularly reviews its key priorities to ensure that they reflect current agendas, and reports on progress against performance targets.28
The company's Executive Management and Board of Directors affirmed that its nonfinancial reporting was prepared in accordance with Account-Ability's AA1000 Account Ability Principles Standard 2003 and the 2002 GRI G2 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines,29 and it included a Communication on Progress in support of the United Nations Global Compact.30 Pricewater-house Coopers reviewed the annual report to express a conclusion based on Account Ability's AA1000 Assurance Standard 2003.