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From Sustainability to Integrated Reporting: How the IIRC Framework Affected Disclosures by a Financial Institution in Australia

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Integrated Reporting

Abstract

This research explores the evolution of reporting in a financial institution and examines whether implementing the Integrated Reporting <IR> Framework enhanced the quality of those disclosures. Research goals are explored through a case study on the sustainability reporting and <IR> practices of CBD, a financial services company based in Australia, and its journey of disclosure. The analysis suggests that the approach proposed by the IIRC does not support disclosure but rather legitimises a company’s activities for the purposes of restoring its reputation. The ‘accountingisation’ of the process makes information more comparable from a financial point of view, but not necessarily from a social or environmental standpoint. We argue that the concept of materiality, highlighted in the IIRC’s Framework, has shifted its focus from stakeholders to shareholders. By aligning its reporting practices with emerging reporting trends guided by the IIRC, this financial institution participated in the evolution of <IR> and ultimately legitimised its operations with shareholders. The research shows that CBD has reached the last stage of a process highlighted in previous studies: definitive acceptance of, and compliance with, a new set of accounting rules that shifts focus from stakeholders to shareholders with the aim of standardising reporting output. Possible future changes in the evolution of the <IR> Framework might influence a company’s approach to reporting.

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Acknowledgment

Federica Casonato, would like to express the deepest appreciation to Macquarie University that accepted her as a visiting student to conduct her research in Sydney, Australia and to all the staff members who contributed directly or indirectly to this book chapter. She would like to acknowledge the assistance of Professor John Dumay who offered her valuable suggestions for this study and provided her with relevant advice. She wishes to express her gratitude to her supervisor at the University of Bologna, Professor Federica Farneti, who supported her during all relevant stages of work and gave her the opportunity to get involved in the research.

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Casonato, F., Farneti, F., Dumay, J. (2019). From Sustainability to Integrated Reporting: How the IIRC Framework Affected Disclosures by a Financial Institution in Australia. In: Idowu, S.O., Del Baldo, M. (eds) Integrated Reporting. CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-01719-4_6

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