28 May 2018

The importance of non-financial reporting will increase in the future according to an ABN AMRO and Sustainalize seminar

On Friday 25, ABN AMRO and Sustainalize organized a seminar called ‘The Future of Non-Financial Reporting’. During the event, about 120 representatives from industry and NGOs and other experts demonstrated that non-financial reporting is becoming increasingly important.

Insights and trends

Tjeerd Krumpelman (ABN AMRO) chaired the seminar, which was organized in the ‘Circl’ Circular Pavilion in Amsterdam for the second time. Nick de Ruiter (Partner at Sustainalize) provided his insights into the trends in non-financial – or rather pre-financial – reporting, including its history, current developments and what’s in store for the future. He also spoke about digital and continuous reporting, materiality and reporting on impact and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Core & More

The second speaker of the day was Dick de Waard (Professor at the University of Groningen), who emphasized that reporting must be critically reviewed. There should be more focus on ‘decision usefulness’ when it comes to the information that companies want to present. He also asked the question: do we really need all of this information, because who is reading these reports? One answer is the ‘Core & More’ concept that can help companies with targeted reporting.

Debate

The two keynote speakers both received a lot of questions from the audience, and the event’s interactive nature continued in the ‘House of Commons’ debate. Wouter van ‘t Hoff (Rabobank), Daan Spaargaren (Eumedion) and Hans Koeleman (KPN) provided introductions to the main themes and propositions.

Proposition 1: Reporting on SGD’s

Wouter van ‘t Hoff stated that reporting on just a few SDGs is a form of whitewashing, and that every company must report on the SDGs in a separate report. The public largely disagreed with this statement – their preference was to opt for some applicable SDGs.

Proposition 2: Financial versus non-financial information

Daan Spaargaren stated that non-financial data is more important for investors than financial data. Those who agreed with this statement stated that non-financial information can say more about the future of an organization.

Proposition 3: Costs versus benefits

Hans Koeleman suggested that really good reporting costs more than it yields. The discussion triggered by this made it clear that good reporting also has a positive effect internally, for example on employees.

Visitors were invited to attend one of the three break-out sessions to conclude the program, where they explored the following topics in more detail:

  • ‘Materiality, now and in the future’ (Nick de Ruiter, Sustainalize)
  • ‘Everything has a story to tell’ (Monique Mulder, Mattmo)
  • ‘The higher goal of reporting’ (Herma van der Laarse, ABN AMRO)

 

 

 

 

 

We concluded the seminar with a delicious lunch during which participants discussed the new insights they had gained. All in all, it was a highly successful event for Sustainalize and ABN AMRO!

Were you unable to attend? Are you interested in the topics we presented? Send us an e-mail!