The Australian annual general meeting season is upon us, and has been preceded by the release of annual reports outlining the financial performance of companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. In addition to financial results, many companies will be outlining their sustainability performance, either through integrated reporting or via stand-alone sustainability reports.
The most frequently used tool to guide sustainability reporting is provided by the Global Reporting Initiative. There is an emphasis on supply chain disclosures.
These changes present opportunities as well as challenges for Australian companies.
While G4 - GRI's latest set of reporting guidelines - emphasizes supply chain disclosures and therefore encourages companies to recognize that the impacts of their business can reach beyond core operations, the framework will also enable companies to autonomously assess which indicators to include or exclude, based on whether issues are deemed material to their activities or not.
Providing companies with the opportunity to determine the boundaries of their sustainability reporting, while simultaneously encouraging them to expand thinking about their supply chains, can result in two very distinct outcomes: either a company will rise to the occasion and increase the breadth and depth of supply chain reporting, or alternatively it will do the exact opposite.
Calls for transparency surrounding supply chain practices of Australian companies have gained substantial traction in recent times.
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