On 24 January 2013, ACCA brought together a group of sustainability professionals and practitioners to discuss the business benefits of sustainability reporting in Singapore.
During the roundtable, participants strongly advocated for management ownership of the sustainability reporting process and emphasized the fact that reporting has the most benefits for companies when it is strategic and reports specific targets, such as improving diversity or reducing energy consumption. A misunderstanding of the objectives of reporting may cause the production of reports of limited value to consumers and stakeholders, but reporting frameworks provide a valuable benchmarking tool for companies and stakeholders.
- There has been little momentum observed towards reporting in Singapore, with neither companies nor stakeholders pushing for reporting as a practice or goal.
- The benefits of sustainability reporting are not clearly understood within companies, either by leadership or employees.
- There is a skills gap between what is required to create a comprehensive sustainability report and what companies have available and are willing to commit to the task.
- While frameworks can be useful for stakeholders, there is confusion over the number and variety of frameworks.
- Educate companies and stakeholders on the relevance of sustainability issues. Arguably, this responsibility lies with the organisations and institutions which want to see increased sustainability disclosure, such as responsible investors, NGOs, special interest groups, consumers, governments, and stock exchanges.
- Build awareness that the process of reporting is integral to the long term strategic goals of companies.
- Companies and regulators should continue to raise awareness of sustainability and the benefits of sustainability reporting as mandating sustainability reporting may not be conducive to the production of comprehensive and useful reports.