As COVID-19 coincided with our spring peak reporting season, our reporting clients have had to consider adjusting their reports to suit. Despite the focus on the 2019 reporting calendar, many have chosen to acknowledge COVID-19 within the introduction or even a dedicated full chapter, allowing stakeholders to considerately judge the effectiveness of the organisation’s response.
This crisis has also placed an emphasis on social criteria. We have observed more reports focusing on the treatment of employees, suppliers, and relationships with local communities. Changing stakeholder priorities means that organisations are increasing attentions on social issues to demonstrate responsiveness to the highest priorities at the present time.
We perceive next year’s reporting to be the most changed by the disruption has caused. Accordingly, EVORA is developing aspects of reporting, including:
- Re-examining materiality assessments to ensure the true identification of sustainability issues that are important to both stakeholders and business continuity.
- Presenting further disclosures, to provide effective insight into an organisations COVID-19 response.
- Continuation of reporting on standard, year-on-year ESG data and performance, which will allow readers to evaluate the organisation’s resistance to shocks.
- Backing data with contextual explanations. We perceive that there will be significant reductions in environmental performance data reported, such as energy and travel. This fall in carbon emissions will undoubtedly accelerate the attainment of sustainability goals. However, this distortion will require a full narrative with expectations for future trajectory.