Introduction and Background
Sustainability and Business
Sustainability is an important issue for business today. Its importance is recognised in a changing world where natural resources are under pressure from climate change, increasing population and increasing destruction of biodiversity from human activity and abuse. Society expects businesses to be accountable and responsible for their impact on natural resources and on the communities in which they operate. Organisations themselves need sustainability information to make informed business decisions. External stakeholders also need this information to form a holistic view of an organization. This is supported by the King Code of Governance Principles for South Africa 2009 (King III) that states an integrated report is a holistic and integrated representation of the company's performance in terms of both its finances and its sustainability.
It is essential for organisations to consider sustainability issues when making business decisions. This is good for business – indeed the longevity of the business could be at stake, good for the economy, and good for society.
The Role of CAs(SA)
CAs (SA) have an important role to play. They are increasingly being called upon to provide such non-financial information, to build key sustainability issues into the business model and business strategy and operations, and to report on such information in the integrated report (with the next step being to provide assurance on integrated reports). CAs (SA) indeed have a crucial role to play in leading this reporting erea and their skills in reporting and internal controls enable them to do so.
The role of SAICA
Integrated reporting is a key focus area at SAICA. The integrated report is the corporate report for the 21st century reflecting an organisation’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects in how it creates value over time.
SAICA established and is responsible for the on-going content updates of the website www.integratedreportingsa.org (previously known as www.sustainabailitysa.org). The website offers a relevant information source for members and non-members. The website is also home to the official web pages of the Integrated Reporting Committee (IRC) of South Africa.
SAICA was instrumental in founding the Integrated Reporting Committee (IRC) of South Africa. The Committee is chaired by Professor Mervyn King . This multi-organisation Committee includes:
- ASISA (Association of Savings and Investment SA),
- BUSA (Business Unity South Africa)
- The Institute of Internal Auditors
- JSE Ltd
- Batseta (Principal Officers Association)
- Financial Services Board
- GEPF (Government Employees Pension Fund)
- BASA (The Banking Association of South Africa)
- CSSA (Chartered Secretaries Southern Africa)
- IoDSA (the Institute of Directors SA)
- SASBO (The Finance Union)
- And a number of individual members: Dr Gavin Andersson, Dr Bob Scholes, Ansie Ramalho and Leigh Roberts (chairman of the IRC Working Group)
For more on the IRC please see the relevant page in this section. Also refer to the website www.integratedreportingsa.org