The 2023 agenda for sustainable development was created, to provide a context to accelerate global progress towards the integration of financial and non-financial reporting.

The United Nations discussed the core indicators and guidance which will be used as ‘opening benchmarks’ for businesses reporting of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and will be promoted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).

Indicators were decided through a criteria covering points such as, needing to facilitate convergence of financial and non-financial reporting principle and data. Another criteria that was needed to be met was the suitability for consolidated reporting and legal entity reporting.

It has been established in the guidance that company reporting will be a vital source for the SDGs monitoring framework.

The guidance report said: “As a primary source of information on company performance, reporting can enrich and enhance goals monitoring mechanisms by providing stakeholders such as governments and capital providers with the means to assess the economic, environmental and social impacts of companies on sustainable development.”

The indicators were accepted by the IIRC, as it believes the reporting of the SDG’s must be integrated and understood in the context of value-creation for the company, in order to make it mainstream.

IIRC’s chief executive officer Richard Howitt said: “I want to strongly welcome the commitment in both the core indicators and the guidance with UNCTAD is presenting this week, to make them integrated in financial reporting, to reflect good accounting practises and to be verifiable to the same quality as financial data in company reports.”

Howitt continued: “For integrated business reporting of the SDG’s, we cannot afford to spend the next twelve years writing another ‘war and peace’… instead, let’s write a better world.”

In his keynote address, Howitt discussed IIRC’s transition to a new phase towards the global adoption of integrated reporting.

Howitt said: “There is a clear perspective that this is not just about numbers, but about making integrated thinking a mainstream business practise and integrated reporting the global norm.”

In order to make the sure the new corporate reporting system works, Howitt said that aims of business in developing country markets need to be met, as well as the aims of international development.


By Mishelle Thurai