Two Worlds Collide – One World to Emerge?


I was asked several times if there would be a separate download of my chapter in the HBS E-Book ‘The Landscape of Integrated Reporting’, so here it is. Just a quick summary of what I contributed to the book: The Harvard Business School’s first conference on integrated reporting (October 14/15, 2010) has been sort of déjà vu for me since it reminded me of some of the early workshops I attended between 1998 and 2000 when GRI was working on the first generation of its GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. At that time I was with Siemens, working on the business case for sustainability and transparency, but also bringing in views from the perspective of a European industry expert to GRI’s emerging multi stakeholder process. Between 2002 and mid 2008 I had great pleasure in helping the GRI as Associate Director Business Engagement and later as their CFO/COO/CIO, helping to prepare and deliver the G3 Guidelines and making the GRI a self-sustaining independent organization. Since 2008 I am Director Sustainability Strategies at Deloitte, working both on the Deloitte’s internal sustainability and also advising relationship and audit clients towards integrated CR and a holistic approach on sustainability. So, here’s the déjà vu: when I looked around in the conference room at Harvard I saw at least half of the people that I also met in 1998, many of them companions and partners in the strides towards more and more accurate sustainability reporting. The other half were part of the great new generation of advocates for sustainability, ranging from IT companies, proactive companies leading in various industry sectors, regulatory body representatives, consulting and assurance experts, and finally more representatives from the financial markets and accounting standard setters. I observed that I was one of the very few that have played a role in this community from three different  perspectives: that of a representative of a multinational heavyweight enterprise, of a non-for-profit multi stakeholder initiative (somewhat NGOish, although GRI would see it more sort of a platform and networking organization), and finally as someone working for one of the big 4 accounting firms. My contribution to the Harvard e-book is therefore based on this ‘triangular view’ and written as a proactive contribution to help increase the speed of the immense challenge in front of the IIRC, that is to come up with ONE standard for overall company reporting. I touched on the following points (and please read the details in the link attached):

  • focus on vocabulary
  • focus on necessary funding
  • focus on the scope of integrated reporting
  • focus on purpose, planetary limits and the micro/macro link of integrated reporting
  • focus on the technological revolution that asks for standards evolution (real time reporting)
  • focus on the real meaning of one report: one company
  • focus on co-creation, piloting and scaling up
  • focus on aligned learning

HBS E-book – Thurm – Two Worlds Collide One World to Emerge