Over the years, it became clear that financial statements on their own did not tell the whole story of the company’s performance. Companies therefore started reporting on their environmental impacts, employee-related issues and corporate social responsibility issues in a separate report often referred to as a sustainability report that accompanied the financial information distributed to shareholders.
The publication of the King III Code of Governance in 2009 saw a shift in the focus of listed companies in South Africa to integrated reporting, with early attempts at this type of reporting merely combining financial and non-financial information in one report.
Overtime integrated reporting has evolved, focusing on how the interconnectivity of the different aspects of a company’s activities has the potential to create or diminish value over time. Not only does integrated reporting focus on the impact of the operating environment on the company, it also focuses on the impact that the company has in its environment. It has become clear that the integrated report is intended to tell the story of a specific company that is different to that of any other company, and how integrated thinking is applied in that organisation.
All companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are required to produce an integrated report and therefore we at EY believe it is imperative for companies to gauge whether their reports paint an accurate picture of what they do, how they do it, why they do it, and how what they do affects all their stakeholders.