Article Series: Examining the Potential of Technologies to Support Sustainability and Integrated Reporting
Sustainability reporting is now an established global practice. Regulatory agencies and stock exchanges around the world require companies to disclose information on their sustainability performance. Meeting reporting requirements presents many challenges for companies. Advances in information technology, including artificial intelligence and big data analytics, offer useful tools in preparing and assuring sustainability reports. The ADGM Academy Research Centre is pleased to publish this article by Associate Professor Muhammad Bilal Farooq, UAE University and PhD candidate Kashif Nadeem, D’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara based on their keynote talk at the 2022 European SDG Summit.
Sustainability reporting involves disclosure of information on organisational social, economic and environmental sustainability performance. The aim is to satisfy the information needs of a broad range of stakeholders, thereby promoting transparency and accountability. Integrated reporting is based on the premise that financial and non-financial sustainability performance is linked and organisations should publish a single integrated report, as opposed to two separate reports or even two separate sections (financial and non-financial sustainability disclosures) within a single annual report. Today most jurisdictions across the world have put in place regulation, either in the form of legislation and/or stock exchange listing requirements, mandating (or at least strongly encouraging), non-financial reporting, either in the form of sustainability or integrated reports. Regulators are also pressing reporters to prepare disclosures that comply with the requirements of internationally recognized sustainability reporting standards, e.g., the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards. As a result, reporting rates have risen across the world. However, the quality of these disclosures often comes under the spotlight. The lack of quality is partially due to the lack of tools and resources available to managers to assist them in preparing high quality disclosures. In this article we explore how managers can leverage modern technology at key stages in their non-financial reporting process.
Muhammad Bilal Farooq, Associate Professor, Department of Accounting & Finance
College of Business & Economics, United Arab Emirates University
Kashif Nadeem, PhD candidate
D’Annunzio University of Chieti–Pescara