Coping with Integrated Reporting: An Overview of Financial and Social Reporting Using the Integrated Approach
Corporate entities of our time are expected to demonstrate that they are responsible in all areas of their operational activities and existence including ensuring that all their actions demonstrate glaringly to all and sundry that they care about the wellbeing of all the inhabitants of planet earth—both animate and inanimate and that they are economically, socially and environmentally responsible. What does this really mean is perhaps a reasonable question to ask. Being responsible in the aforemention areas may not happen naturally or even by accident if the organisation in question were to fail to take a concerted effort to work towards responsibility in them. Corporate social responsibility has provided some of the ingredients which tantamount to societal responsibility. These are activities and actions needed by modern corporate entities to help them in the quest to tread the paths of responsibility; many of these issues and activities that are at the core of the area were not apparent to us some fifty or so years ago. CSR has similarly reoriented how we operate, perceive and understand the world we now live in. This has meant that corporations of the twenty-first century are faced with a number of interesting challenges and choices on how they must conduct their operational activities to ensure that they are looked at by their stakeholders as either being socially responsible or socially irresponsible. It has been argued times and times again that a number of strategic and social benefits will result from being perceived as being socially responsible. An entity that wishes to survive and be at a competitive advantage in its sector, needless to say; would in our view take these issues seriously. The way these modern entities report on their financial and non-financial activities has a number of consequences on how they are understood by readers of their financial and social reports, it also has some connotations on how they are placed in the league table of responsibility.