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Published in: Sustainability Management Forum | NachhaltigkeitsManagementForum 1-4/2018

28-08-2018 | Originalbeitrag / Original article

Overcoming current practical challenges in sustainability and integrated reporting: insights from a Swiss field study

Authors: Fridolin Simon Brand, Verena Berger, Katharina Hetze, Jörg E. U. Schmidt, Marie-Christin Weber, Herbert Winistörfer, Claus-Heinrich Daub

Published in: Sustainability Nexus Forum | Issue 1-4/2018

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Abstract

A growing number of companies worldwide face practical challenges in their sustainability and integrated reporting. This is mainly due to two reasons. First, new voluntary reporting guidelines have been published, such as the Sustainability Reporting Standards of the Global Reporting Initiative, the guideline for integrated reporting by the International Integrated Reporting Council and the sector standards of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. Second, new binding reporting regulations have been adopted, such as Directive 2014/95/EU on non-financial reporting issued by the European Commission. This article analyzes current practical challenges in sustainability and integrated reporting and suggests tools to overcome them, based on desktop research, an experience-based consultancy view, and two case studies, from banking and tourism, respectively. The article is the result of a two-year research project funded by Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency. Reporting involves several major practical challenges: (i) identifying the issues with the greatest sustainability impact along the value chain, (ii) prioritizing sustainability topics in accordance with both the Global Reporting Initiative and the International Integrated Reporting Council, (iii) clarifying the sustainability context of corporate activities, and (iv) developing reports that can influence the decisions of key target groups with regard to purchasing and investments, for instance. Based on its analysis, the article makes several recommendations for the enhancement of sustainability reporting, including an analysis grid to identify sustainability issues along the value chain, a multicriteria analysis tool for the materiality criteria of the Global Reporting Initiative and International Integrated Reporting Council, and tools for target group-specific reporting. Case studies provide indicative evidence that the developed tools can help companies to enhance their sustainability reporting.

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Metadata
Title
Overcoming current practical challenges in sustainability and integrated reporting: insights from a Swiss field study
Authors
Fridolin Simon Brand
Verena Berger
Katharina Hetze
Jörg E. U. Schmidt
Marie-Christin Weber
Herbert Winistörfer
Claus-Heinrich Daub
Publication date
28-08-2018
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Published in
Sustainability Nexus Forum / Issue 1-4/2018
Print ISSN: 2948-1619
Electronic ISSN: 2948-1627
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00550-018-0474-y

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