South Africa has a relatively mature reporting landscape which has been influenced by strong leadership, compliance, social context and the country’s status as a developing economy in Africa. There is and always will be a
requirement for sustainability reporting in our country, and as we develop our collective understanding of the relative importance of certain (material) issues over others, we will increase our ability to influence our environment and our society as a whole.
King III provided impetus for the inclusion and integration of environmental, social and governance issues in corporate reporting practices, culminating in the development of the‘integrated reporting’process as a vehicle for implementation. As expectations and regulations grow, so too does the requirement for guidance around the principles of integrated reporting. This is just one of the reasons for the emergence of the <IR> Framework – a framework that will no doubt work together with other already established systems such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines to bring about effectiveness in the corporate reporting arena.
It is important for companies to understand and correctly apply the various principles and guidelines in their reporting activities and it is with this in mind that the Sustainability and Integrated Reporting Handbook has been launched – a publication that seeks to profile information and discussions from thought leaders and stakeholders in this space.
I have been fortunate to have had guidance and input from representatives from the GRI (Douglas Kativu) and the IIRC (Ian Jameson) on the Editorial Board, which was guided by the Content Statement for this publication (see page 6). I would like to express my sincere thanks to these gentlemen for their input and for the good work that they are doing in their respective roles at these important organisations.
I would also like to thank the many authors who have given of their time and whose contributions are greatly appreciated. Advertising support has been particularly impressive for this first volume and this has contributed to the publisher’s ability to print as many as 8000 copies of the handbook, most of which will be freely circulated to key stakeholders in Southern Africa.
I invite your comments and suggestions and I look forward to the development of this platform as a useful resource in South Africa.