What Good Looks Like: Black Sun's research into reporting trends from the Integrated Reporting Pilot Programme - Black Sun Global

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What Good Looks Like: Black Sun's research into reporting trends from the Integrated Reporting Pilot Programme

As the interest in Integrated Reporting continues to grow, there is an increasing demand to know not only what Integrated Reporting is, but to also understand what ‘good’ looks like.

In response to this rising interest, Black Sun has produced a piece of research on Integrated Reporting, titled ‘What Good Looks Like’. Within this research we considered the reporting trends emerging from the IIRC’s Integrated Reporting Pilot Programme, which consists of over 100 companies from 26 countries who are collectively on their journey towards Integrated Reporting. 

Our findings highlight the following six points:

  • Companies are making strides towards achieving the Integrated Reporting ‘epiphany’, but there is still further work to be done.
  • Three main factors determine the progress made by individual companies; i) regulatory reporting requirements; ii) whether the internal process is being driven from the top; and iii) the importance of non-financial factors to the business.
  • There are clear sector and regional trends, with South Africa and the UK leading the way from a regional perspective and consumer services, consumer goods, financial services and extractives leading the way from a sector perspective.
  • Progress has been made around reporting on the Content Elements, which now seem to be well established, indicating that organisations understand the concept and parameters of the IIRC’s Integrated Reporting Framework. Guiding Principles, on the other hand, continue to be more challenging.
  • There is no single ‘right’ approach to Integrated Reporting – this is unique for every company.
  • Companies are making the step from thinking about single Reports to the actual process of ‘reporting’. The result is ongoing engagement with stakeholders throughout the process, thinking in an integrated way and utilising different channels to convey their corporate story effectively.

Sallie Pilot, Director of Research & Strategy at Black Sun commented, "At Black Sun we believe that Integrated Reporting is just ‘good’ reporting underpinned by integrated thinking. While we have seen areas where further development would be beneficial, it is encouraging to see the significant progress which the Pilot Programme companies have made as they move to adopt the International Integrated Reporting Framework. Progress has been most obvious around Content Elements such as the ‘business model’, which companies are using to articulate the value story, and in many cases the business model acts as the ‘missing link’ in reporting. As companies become more innovative, we expect what ‘good’ looks like to evolve in tandem and for leading reporters to continue to break new ground.”

To understand more of how Integrated Reporting could benefit your company, see our other research called ‘Understanding transformation: Building the business case for Integrated Reporting’.