Using the International Integrated Reporting Framework to comply with EU Directive 2014/95/EU: can we afford another reporting façade?

2020 ◽  
Vol 28 (5) ◽  
pp. 889-914 ◽  
Author(s):  
Lucia Biondi ◽  
John Dumay ◽  
David Monciardini

Purpose Motivated by claims that the International Integrated Reporting Framework (IRF) can be used to comply with Directive 2014/95/EU (the EU Directive) on non-financial and diversity disclosure, the purpose of this study is to examine whether companies can comply with corporate reporting laws using de facto standards or frameworks. Design/methodology/approach The authors adopted an interpretivist approach to research along with current regulatory studies that aim to investigate business compliance with the law using private sector standards. To support the authors’ arguments, publicly available secondary data sources were used, including newsletters, press releases and websites, reports from key players within the accounting profession, public documents issued by the European Commission and data from corporatergister.com. Findings To become a de facto standard or framework, a private standard-setter requires the support of corporate regulators to mandate it in a specific national jurisdiction. The de facto standard-setter requires a powerful coalition of actors who can influence the policymakers to allow its adoption and diffusion at a national level to become mandated. Without regulatory support, it is difficult for a private and voluntary reporting standard or framework to be adopted and diffused. Moreover, the authors report that the <IRF> preferences stock market capitalism over sustainability because it privileges organisational sustainability over social and environmental sustainability, emphasises value creation over holding organisations accountable for their impact on society and the environment and privileges the entitlements of providers of financial capital over other stakeholders. Research limitations/implications The authors question the suitability of the goals of both the <IRF> and the EU Directive during and after the COVID-19 crisis. The planned changes to both need rethinking as we head into uncharted waters. Moreover, the authors believe that the people cannot afford any more reporting façades. Originality/value The authors offer a critical analysis of the link between the <IRF> and the EU Directive and how the <IRF> can be used to comply with the EU Directive. By questioning the relevance of the compliance question, the authors advance a critique about the relevance of these and other legal and de facto frameworks, particularly considering the more pressing needs that must be met to address the economic, social and environmental implications of the COVID-19 crisis.

2018 ◽  
Vol 18 (4) ◽  
pp. 336-354 ◽  
Author(s):  
Katriina Alhola ◽  
Ari Nissinen

Purpose The purpose of this study is to promote clean technology development and diffusion through public procurement. Finland is ranked high among the countries that develop clean technology innovations. Innovative public procurement could be one means to boost the diffusion of such technologies. However, this potential is still somewhat unexploited, as innovative public procurement is an unsystematic method of procuring in Finland and the EU, partly because of an inability to understand innovation potential in the market and to implement innovative procurement. Design/methodology/approach In this paper, the authors illustrate how cleantech aspects can be integrated into the public procurement process. The authors study the key success factors and conditions that have led to a successful cleantech procurement process by exploring realized cases of innovative public clean technology procurement. Findings The results suggest that innovative public procurement, in which clean technology is an integrated part, may occur in different forms, from a procurement of a highly improved product or solution to a product-service system or a collaborative symbiosis system. Life cycle consideration, strategic commitment and recognition of needs of the procuring unit were prioritized as the most important factors leading to successful integration of cleantech aspects into procurement process.


2017 ◽  
Vol 25 (4) ◽  
pp. 461-480 ◽  
Author(s):  
John Dumay ◽  
Cristiana Bernardi ◽  
James Guthrie ◽  
Matteo La Torre

Purpose This paper is motivated by the call for feedback by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) from all stakeholders with knowledge of the International Integrated Reporting Framework (<IRF>) and specifically of the enablers, incentives and barriers to its implementation. The paper synthesises insights from contemporary accounting research into integrated reporting (IR) as a general concept and <IR> as espoused by the IIRC in the <IRF> (IIRC, 2013). The authors specifically focus on possible barriers and emphasise the specific issues the authors feel could be rectified to advance the <IRF>, along with the areas that may potentially hinder its wider adoption and implementation. Design/methodology/approach The paper draws upon and synthesises academic analysis and insights provided in the IR and <IR> academic literature as well as various directives, policy and framework pronouncements. Findings The flexibility and lack of prescription concerning actual disclosures and metrics in the <IRF> could allow it to be used for compliance, regardless of the other benefits lauded by the IIRC. Thus the authors see forces, both external and internal, driving <IR> adoption, with one prominent example being the European Union Directive on non-financial reporting. Because of the different ways in which IR is understood and enacted, there are numerous theoretical and empirical challenges for academics. The authors paper highlights potential areas for further robust academic research and the need to contribute to <IR> policy and practice. Research limitations/implications The paper provides the IIRC, academics, regulators and reporting organisations with insights into current practice and the <IRF>. The authors highlight the need for further development and evidence to help inform improvements both from a policy and a practice perspective. A key limitation of the authors’ work is that the authors draw upon a synthesis of the existing literature which is still in an early stage of development. Originality/value The paper provides the IIRC with several insights into the current <IRF> and specifically with the enablers, incentives and barriers to its implementation. Also, it provides academic researchers with a number of important observations and an agenda upon which the authors can build their future research.


2020 ◽  
Vol 28 (5) ◽  
pp. 701-725
Author(s):  
Matteo La Torre ◽  
Svetlana Sabelfeld ◽  
Marita Blomkvist ◽  
John Dumay

Purpose This paper introduces the special issue “Rebuilding trust: Sustainability and non-financial reporting, and the European Union regulation”. Inspired by the studies published in the special issue, this study aims to examine the concept of accountability within the context of the European Union (EU) Directive on non-financial disclosure (hereafter the EU Directive) to offer a critique and a novel perspective for future research into mandatory non-financial reporting (NFR) and to advance future practice and policy. Design/methodology/approach The authors review the papers published in this special issue and other contemporary studies on the topic of NFR and the EU Directive. Findings Accountability is a fundamental concept for building trust in the corporate reporting context and emerges as a common topic linking contemporary studies on the EU Directive. While the EU Directive acknowledges the role of accountability in the reporting practice, this study argues that regulation and practice on NFR needs to move away from an accounting-based conception of accountability to promote accountability-based accounting practices (Dillard and Vinnari, 2019). By analysing the links between trust, accountability and accounting and reporting, the authors claim the need to examine and rethink the inscription of interests into non-financial information (NFI) and its materiality. Hence, this study encourages research and practice to broaden mandatory NFR practice over the traditional boundaries of accountability, reporting and formal accounting systems. Research limitations/implications Considering the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, this study calls for further research to investigate the dialogical accountability underpinning NFR in practice to avoid the trap of focusing on accounting changes regardless of accountability. The authors advocate that what is needed is more timely NFI that develops a dialogue between companies, investors, national regulators, the EU and civil society, not more untimely standalone reporting that has most likely lost its relevance and materiality by the time it is issued to users. Originality/value By highlighting accountability issues in the context of mandatory NFR and its linkages with trust, this study lays out a case for moving the focus of research and practice from accounting-based regulations towards accountability-driven accounting change.


2018 ◽  
Vol 19 (2) ◽  
pp. 230-247 ◽  
Author(s):  
Natasja Steenkamp

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop guidelines of what award winning companies, leading practice in integrated reporting (IR) disclose in their integrated reports about material issues and their materiality determination processes. Also, to provide insight into what they disclose about their perception of materiality. Design/methodology/approach A content analysis was conducted to investigate what the top 10 South African companies of the 2015 Ernst and Young Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards disclosed in their 2014 and 2015 integrated reports about their materiality determination processes, material issues and what materiality means to them. Thematic analyses were conducted in developing guidelines. Findings All except one company applied the International Integrated Reporting Framework. The materiality determination processes, material issues and companies’ descriptions of materiality are diverse. Material issues most companies identified relate to employees, social and environmental issues, customers and sustainable performance. Practical implications The proposed guidelines will provide useful strategies for organisations embarking on the IR journey about what issues could be considered as material and therefore included in integrated reports. It also proposes activities companies can undertake to identify, evaluate and prioritise material issues and execute their materiality determination process. Originality/value This paper is the first to develop guidelines of material matters and materiality determination processes. It also adds to existing literature on IR practice and the application of materiality.


2017 ◽  
Vol 25 (4) ◽  
pp. 553-573 ◽  
Author(s):  
James Guthrie ◽  
Francesca Manes-Rossi ◽  
Rebecca Levy Orelli

Purpose This paper aims to explore the linkages between integrated reporting (IR) and organisations’ internal processes, specifically focusing on investigating the internal mechanisms of change that can lead organisations to adopt IR disclosure and how this impacts on integrated thinking internally. Design/methodology/approach The paper draws upon previous analysis and insights provided in the IR academic literature, as well as analysing several directives, policy and framework pronouncements. The study also draws on the management accounting change literature, using it as a lens to observe early adopters’ practice. In addition, it provides detailed case studies considering the internal processes of change in five early adopters of the integrated reporting framework (<IRF>) and whether the adoption leads to internal “integrated thinking”. Five Italian public sector organisations are analysed, and the authors make use of official documents, press releases and in-depth semi-structured interviews with the major internal actors. Findings The research highlights that the processes of change in organisations adopting IR is their adoption of a way of thinking, that is, integrated thinking, as a result of the process of internalisation. Research limitations/implications Given the short history of IR, this sample is small due to the small number of early adopters. Originality/value The paper provides academics and policymakers with insights into the process of change to be considered while adopting the <IRF> and responds to calls in the IR literature for further field-based studies on IR’s impact on internal processes. Also, the paper highlights that the European Directive on the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information (2014/95/EU) has the potential to increase environmental, social and governance disclosures amongst European companies.


2020 ◽  
Vol ahead-of-print (ahead-of-print) ◽  
Author(s):  
Merve Kılıç ◽  
Ali Uyar ◽  
Cemil Kuzey ◽  
Abdullah S. Karaman

PurposeThe objective of this study is to investigate whether the institutional environment is associated with the adoption of integrated reporting.Design/methodology/approachThe sample of the study is based on the firms included in the list of Fortune Global 500. The logistic regression analysis was run to test the proposed hypotheses.FindingsThe findings indicated that the code-law orientation and strength of the institutional quality are significantly associated (i.e. positively and negatively, respectively) with the integrated reporting of Fortune 500 companies. Firms are motivated for more transparency in stakeholder-oriented and weakly regulated contexts. Thus, stakeholder pressure is more influential than shareholder interest in motivating or forcing firms to issue integrated reports. Besides, there appears to be a trade-off between the public sector and the private sector in terms of ensuring an accountable and transparent business environment. If the public sector does not undertake its role in ensuring a transparent business environment, the private sector fills the gap. The results are robust to alternative sampling and methodologies.Research limitations/implicationsThis study implied that the stakeholder orientation of countries fosters the transparency and accountability of firms. Corporate behavior is impacted by the institutional strength or weakness of nations. The institutional theory provides an appropriate ground to understand drivers of corporate reporting practices of firms beyond firm-level characteristics.Practical implicationsThe adoption of integrated reporting framework by Fortune 500 companies can be leveraged to alleviate concerns about their social and environmental impacts. Policy-makers in the countries which have a weak institutional environment force or encourage their firms to increasingly meet the transparency and accountability demands of society.Social implicationsThe research findings might play an encouraging role in that various stakeholders (i.e. customers, public, civil organizations and press) should undertake active roles and responsibilities to encourage firms to behave in socially and environmentally responsible ways.Originality/valueThis study adds to the literature by examining the influence of the institutional environment on the adoption of integrated reporting, using recent international data, and focusing on the largest companies according to the Fortune's annual Global 500 list. This study is one of the first to examine the association between a set of governance characteristics (i.e. board size, board independence and board diversity) and integrated reporting adoption.


2019 ◽  
Vol 20 (1) ◽  
pp. 11-39 ◽  
Author(s):  
John Dumay ◽  
Matteo La Torre ◽  
Federica Farneti

Purpose This paper examines the gap between reporting and managers’ behaviour to challenge the current theoretical underpinnings of intellectual capital (IC) disclosure practice and research. The authors explore how the key features from IC and integrated reporting can be combined to develop an extended model for companies to comply with EU Directive 2014/95/EU and increase trust in corporate disclosures and reports. Design/methodology/approach This essay relies on academic literature and examples from practice to critique the theories that explain corporate disclosure and reporting but do not change management behaviour. Based on this critique, the authors argue for a change in the fundamental theories of stewardship to frame a new concept for corporate disclosure incorporating using a multi-capitals framework. Findings We argue that, while the inconsistency between organisations’ reporting and behaviour persists, increasing, renewing or extending the information disclosed is not enough to instil trust in corporations. Stewardship over a company’s resources is necessary for increasing trust. The unanticipated consequences of dishonest behaviour by managers and shareholders compels a new application of stewardship theory that works as an overarching guide for managerial behaviour and disclosure. Emanating from this new model is a realisation that managers must abandon agency theory in practice, and specifically the bonus contract. Research limitations/implications We call for future empirical research to explore the role of stewardship theory within the dynamics of corporate disclosure using the approach. The research implications of those studies should incorporate the potential impacts on management behaviours within a stewardship framework and how those actions, and their outcomes, are disclosed for rebuilding public trust in business. Practical implications The implications for integrated reporting and reports complying with the new EU Directive are profound. Both instruments rely on agency theory to coax managers into reducing information asymmetry by disclosing more. However, agency theory only re-affirms the power managers have over corporate information. It does not change their behaviour, nor to act in the interest of all stakeholders as the stewards of an organisation’s resources. Social implications We advocate that, in business education, greater emphasis is needed on how stewardship has a more positive impact on management behaviour than agency, legitimacy and stakeholder theories. Originality/value We reflect on the current and compelling issues permeating the international landscape of corporate reporting and disclosure and explain why current theories which explain corporate disclosures do not change behaviour or engender trust in business and offer an alternative disclosure model based on stewardship theory.


2019 ◽  
Vol 35 (10) ◽  
pp. 18-20

Purpose This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies. Design/methodology/approach This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context. Findings This research paper concentrates on the public procurement of innovations (PPI) within the EU as a mechanism for stimulating private sector R&D efforts that solve public organization-identified problems. The authors encourage less risk aversion and greater risk management to encourage the increased use of cost-plus contracts to spread some risk between the procurer and supplier, which should in turn attract more innovative companies to participate in PPI exercises. Originality/value The briefing saves busy executives, strategists and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.


2021 ◽  
Vol ahead-of-print (ahead-of-print) ◽  
Author(s):  
Thilini Cooray ◽  
Samanthi Senaratne ◽  
Nuwan Gunarathne ◽  
Roshan Herath ◽  
Dileepa Neelangi Samudrage

Purpose This paper aims to examine the coverage of and trends in reporting content elements in the integrated reports of the Sri Lankan companies following the International Integrated Reporting Framework (IIRF). Design/methodology/approach Based on a comprehensive checklist developed on the content elements of the IIRF, 171 corporate integrated reports were content-analyzed over a period of three years. The results were theorized subsequently using the legitimacy theory. Findings The study identifies that the extent of and trend in the coverage of content elements of the IIRF have increased during the period under consideration despite some under-addressed areas. It indicates that Sri Lankan companies are making progress in the preparation of integrated reports in line with the IIRF, which provides evidence in support of both strategic and institutional perspectives of the legitimacy theory because of the proactive actions taken by managers to acquire legitimacy along with the other normative and mimetic pressures available in the IR landscape. Originality/value This is one of the first studies that evaluate the compliance of IR adopters with the IIRF overtime in the entirety of a single country. It also develops a comprehensive index to capture the disclosure requirements of IR and extends the analysis to a voluntary context using both strategic and institutional perspectives of the legitimacy theory.


Subject EU economic sovereignty. Significance COVID-19 is increasing momentum within the EU to enhance the bloc’s economic and strategic sovereignty by substantially reducing dependence on non-EU powers, particularly China. While the immediate concern is to become more self-sufficient in medical and pharmaceutical production, leaders are also set on strengthening European sovereignty in critical sectors including technology and automobiles. Impacts A strong economic recovery will be important in determining an EU consensus view concerning the bloc’s main economic competitors. Public investment in the private sector will provide greater economic stability, but more state influence on supply chains and investments. Scepticism of China will become a growing feature in European politics.


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