Stakeholders expect it. And smart companies are doing it: integrating their reporting of financial and nonfinancial performance in order to improve sustainable strategy.
How can managers better identify, describe, and confront the issues of environmental and social sustainability that their companies increasingly encounter? One answer is One Report, a method of integrating information about financial and nonfinancial performance into a single, jargon-free document.
HBS senior lecturer Robert G. Eccles and coauthor Michael P. Krzus explain the benefits and value of the One Report method. Plus: book excerpt from One Report: Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy.
Leslie Gaines-Ross, Chief Reputation Strategist of Weber Shandwick, commented in the article that "In today’s multi-stakeholder and multi-channel society, CEOs are increasingly concerned about reputational risk, both for their company and themselves. Now is the time for CEOs to carefully explain their companies to stakeholders, engage in productive two-way conversations, and clearly communicate their contributions to the market and society.
If stakeholders are left on their own to unify all the information they need about an enterprise, companies could find themselves vulnerable to misinformation and hearsay and put their reputations at risk."
Just reading this quote also defines a new look at the use of social media in an organisation. How to integrate not just reporting but two-way conversations with stakeholders. And, the importance of integrating reporting and use of social media into a company’s strategic communications plan.
Interesting and essential reading for Stakeholder Reputation Managers.
The following story was shared years ago with me (Caveat- I cannot remember who) but it is worthwhile considering the discussions at Copenhagen.
In the year 2009, The Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in the USA and said, "Once again, the earth has become wicked and over populated and I see the end of all flesh before me.
Build another Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans."
He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, "You have six months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights".
Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard….. but no ark.
"Noah", He roared, "I’m about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?"
"Forgive me, Lord," begged Noah. "But things have changed. I needed a building permit. I’ve been arguing with the inspector about the need for a fire detection and sprinkler system. My neighbours claim that I’ve violated the neighbourhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision.
Then the Government and other stakeholders demanded a bond be posted for The future costs of moving power, trolley and other overhead obstructions, To clear the passage for the Ark’s move to the sea. I argued that the Sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.
Getting the wood was another problem. There’s a ban on cutting local Trees in order to save the Giant Spotted Owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls. But no go!
When I started gathering the animals, I got sued by an animal rights group. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will.
As well, they argued the accommodation was too restrictive and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.
Then the Department of Environment Affairs ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until they’d conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood.
I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Institute on how many previously disadvantaged individuals I’m supposed to hire for my building crew.
Also, the trades unions say I can’t use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark building experience.
To make matters worse, the Customs and Revenue seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species.
So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least ten years for me to Finish this Ark."
Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow Stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, "You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?".
"No", said the Lord. "The Government beat me to it!"