Updated IR Framework
The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), published revisions to the International <IR> Framework to enable more decision-useful reporting.
The revisions, the first since the <IR> Framework was originally published in 2013, are the result of extensive market consultation with 1,470 individuals in 55 jurisdictions. The consultation demonstrated that the conceptual thinking and principles of the <IR> Framework remain fit for purpose and robust, as evidenced by the 2,500 organizations in over 70 countries that use it.
After 10 years of integrated reporting in South Africa we can be proud of the strides that have been made. This is thanks to the commitment of the preparers and many others across the reporting ecosystem who play a role in taking integrated reporting forward.
Now is not the time, however, to rest on our laurels. Organizations are continuously being challenged to evolve and respond to the changing environment in which they operate and strategies are continuously tested and adjusted to respond to internal and external pressures, evolving risks and new opportunities. The challenges faced across the globe are increasingly unprecedented and the types of risks coming to bear, as underscored by the World Economic Forum’s annual global risks reports1, emphasize the importance of integrated thinking – for now and into the future. The prevalence of environmental and social risks reinforces the need for organizations, more than ever before, to recognize the interconnectedness in society, especially related to economic, social, health and environmental matters and to act accordingly. Organizations do not operate in silos. They rely on and effect multiple capitals: reinforcing the imperative that governing bodies and management have to integrate the six capitals into strategy, risks and opportunities and decision-making. This is recognized in the King IV Report on Corporate GovernanceTM for South Africa, 2016 (King IV2) and in the International <IR> Framework (2021) (<IR> Framework).
Effective communication through integrated reporting allows an organization to explain how it responds to the ever-changing and often challenging context in which it operates. This openness and transparency enhances credibility and trust and allows stakeholders to form a view of the quality of the organization’s leadership, strategy and performance. The integrated report is an opportunity to convey how the governing body is leading the organization, especially through difficult times, and to explain to what extent it creates, preserves or erodes value.
A quality integrated report has meaningful information presented in a connected and concise manner. It tells the complete story of the organization’s process through which value is created, preserved or eroded. This process is not static – and neither is reporting. Organizations do, and should, strive for continuous improvement in their integrated report. By regularly evaluating the disclosures in the integrated report, the governing body, management and their teams have the opportunity to reassess aspects of their business and how well integrated thinking is embedded, particularly in the context of an ever-changing landscape.
The effort to continuously improve is a key component of a quality integrated report: effective communication is integral to the governing body’s duty of accountability. Its input from initial planning to final approval is essential for the report to successfully communicate how the organization creates, preserves or erodes value. The content of this Information Paper (Paper) will assist in this regard.
Professor Mervyn E. King SC
Chairman of the Integrated Reporting Committee (IRC) of South Africa
Chairman Emeritus of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC)
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