Alliance Set to Drive Informed Business Strategies
Wednesday, 18th September 2013 at 11:44 am
The Global Reporting Initiative Focal Point Australia (GRIFPA) and Sustainable Business Australia (SBA) are joining forces to develop a new corporate sustainability agenda.
Under their agreement, GRIFPA and SBA will develop the corporate sustainability agenda to include governance on risks associated with social and environmental impacts.
As well, the alliance says it will focus on assisting companies to identify value, to mitigate risks, innovate governance practices and to drive strategy without fear.
The GRIFPA and SBA alliance says it will also be calling for more and better corporate reporting on economic, environmental and social sustainability risks to become standard practice.
GRI has pioneered and developed comprehensive Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (the G4) that are widely used by major organisations around the world. SBA is one of the leading Australian organisations on sustainable development in business in Australia.
"SBA believes that collaboration with an international organisation such as the GRI, which shares common and complementary approaches towards performance and reporting, is critical if business is to accept a global sustainability framework that is transparent, consensus driven, balanced, accountable, credible and independent,” SBA's CEO Andrew Petersen said.
"Uncertain economic times, increasingly global business operations and greater stakeholder demands have marked an inflection point for corporate reporting. At the same time, business value is heavily influenced by a company’s strategy, plans and operations.
"This alliance will progress ideas on the most appropriate means of corporate reporting by bringing together representatives of corporate Australia, small business, NGOs and the broader community, as well as technical experts and academics," Petersen said.
ASX has recently released the Draft 3rd edition of "Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations", which proposes listed companies specifically report on environmental and social risks.
"We are encouraged to see the Australia Stock Exchange Governance Council call for governance principles that seek risks measurements in the areas of social and environmental impacts during their consultation process,” the Head of Focal Point Australia for GRI, Africa Zanella said.
"Expectations are growing for businesses to demonstrate to all their stakeholders that they are adding value by doing more than merely mitigating risks. They need to also bring growth opportunities to their organisation in a holistic and realistic manner," she said.
"It is time to bring all factors that affect business profitability and sustainability out in the open by the implementation of transparent and accountable measures," Ms Zanella said.
“Governments around the world are already moving to regulate corporate governance in this area and to improve the way organisations are required to report on CSR and sustainable development indices which are relevant and material.”
Through their alliance, GRIFPA and SBA say they will work together to forge a voice on the need for a national policy framework for disclosing this information and for explaining why companies do not.
"Integrating principles of sustainable development into general business accountability structures opens up new credible and viable business opportunities, while helping companies create value, not just avoid destroying it," Andrew Petersen said.
The first stage of work for the two organisations will be to discuss the present state of Australian corporate reporting at a Session at the Australian Sustainability Conference and Exhibition 2013, which is being held in Melbourne from 9-10 October.