Green Economy Journal Issue 17



I have recently been involved in an energy efficiency research project which is aimed at reducing the consumption of electricity by public listed companies in South Africa. Researchers were looking for reported information relating to energy consumption and usable space for the top 100 companies in South Africa, in order to establish a ratio which could be used to target efficiency. It was assumed at the outset that this information would be relatively easy to find in the public domain, based on the increasing requirements over the last few years for listed companies to report on sustainability. The project has returned some interesting findings: 1. There appears to have been an increase in the number of integrated reports published – from 2013 to 2014 – and a (corresponding) decrease in the number of sustainability reports published in the same period. 2. Hardly any integrated reports contained energy consumption data however vitually all the esustainability reports did. As well intentioned as it is, it would seem that the requirement for listed companies to produce an integrated report has resulted in a drop in the number of sustainability reports being produced, with certain sustainability data no longer being reported at all. Integrated reporting should be the next step towards increased transparency, accountability and value creation, and not an opportunity to conveniently avoid reporting on data that is still important to key stakeholders. In this regard companies should be incorporating principles and frameworks that ensure that the reporting process is authentic and integrated: • The report should be concise and should focus primarily on issues material to the business and to key stakeholders. • The report should place emphasis on the creation of value for key stakeholders. • The report should not simply be a combination of the sustainability, financial and CSR reports of the organisation, or summaries thereof. • The report should incorporate key principles from the most relevant standards and frameworks (e.g. GRI and Framework) such as those concerning the 6 capitals, stakeholder engagement, or supply chain sustainability In this regard the Green Economy Journal will be profiling each of the six capitals (one in each issue) in the context of integrated reporting. Having published an article on financial capital in our last issue, we now look at manufacturing capital in this issue. We also continue our study of sustainability for SMEs and we take a look at sustainability in the electronics sector.