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Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition

Convened by Aviva Investors and announced in a September 20, 2011, press release, the CSRC56 played an integral role in facilitating dialogue surrounding the 2014 EU Accounting Directive revision and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (Rio + 20) through a series of timely and informative publications.57 With a membership that includes investors,58 companies, NGOs representing a range of environmental and social interests (including GRI and the IIRC), accounting organizations, and UN-affiliated organizations the CSRC seeks to influence legislation that serves as the basis for regulation. While the SSE focuses on mobilizing existing regulators like stock exchanges, the heavy contingent of NGOs has made the CSRC more campaign-oriented.

In a 2011 press release, the CSRC called for companies to disclose and integrate material sustainability information into their annual report and accounts or explain why they are unable to do so, underlining a belief that an international policy framework should be developed to promote transparency and accountability.59 To this end, extensive organizational and system-level benefits were also cited.60 In anticipation of Rio+20, Aviva Investors published "Earth Summit 2012: Towards agreement on a declaration for corporate sustainability reporting at Rio+20." The document called upon delegates to commit to the development of a policy statement on sustainability reporting. Subsequently, "The Future We Want,"61 Rio+20's outcome document, included "Paragraph 47," which called for companies "to consider integrating sustainability information into their reporting cycle."62

Though not as strong as the coalition had hoped it would be, Paragraph 47 demonstrated the support of countries attending the summit for a more integrated corporate accountability structure insofar as all countries that attended the summit endorsed it.63 "Integrated reporting" was not mentioned, but the concept's essence was suggested in the phrase "integrating sustainability information into their reporting cycle" in which "reporting cycle" refers to the mandated financial reporting by all listed companies.

Following Rio+20, the CSRC turned its attention to Europe. In November 2012, Aviva Investors published, "European briefing: Towards an agreement on corporate sustainability reporting," to call on European policy makers to "consider a provision for a 'report or explain' standard for integrated corporate sustainability reporting."64 It proposed that the European Union Accounting Directive discussed above be based on seven principles, such as a focus on business-relevant and material issues, the disclosure of corporate performance with quantified key performance indicators (KPIs), and the required integration of sustainability KPIs throughout the report and accounts—including strategy, risk, audit, and remuneration. Again, while the exact term "integrated reporting" was not used, "integrated corporate sustainability reporting" and the three principles cited evoked the idea. The nuances of the European briefing and the language in Paragraph 47 illustrate the challenges of building a social movement in which actors inevitably have overlapping but usually not identical interests, and perhaps not identical meanings, for the concept of integrated reporting.65 This reflects the fact that a consensus has yet to emerge about the relationship between integrated reporting and sustainability reporting, a critical issue in establishing the meaning of the terms "integrated report" and "integrated reporting." Our position, explained in more detail in Chapter 6, is that sustainability reporting is an important complement to integrated reporting.

 
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