Will the formation of the International Sustainability Standards Board result in the death of integrated reporting?

Abstract

PURPOSE : This paper critically analyses the future of Integrated Reporting (IR) given recent and likely future developments in corporate reporting and sustainability disclosure standard setting. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH : This paper uses Alvesson and Deetz’s (2000) critical framework to consider the research question through insight (a review of the history of IR and the formation of the International Sustainability Standards Board [ISSB]), critique (considering power structures, momentum and global trends) and transformative redefinition (proposing reasons for how and why IR might survive or perish). FINDINGS : IR’s future as a reporting initiative is uncertain. Pressure from investors may lead to detailed sustainability disclosures being favoured over IR’s more holistic story-telling approach. This may result in IR joining the long list of abandoned corporate reporting initiatives. Yet IR is not incompatible with recent developments in non-financial reporting and may continue to thrive. IR aligns well with developments in management accounting practices and other voluntary forms of sustainability reporting. IR’s associated “Integrated Thinking” seeks to develop organisational decision-making that leads to sustainable value creation. Whether it lasts as an external reporting format or not, IR is likely to leave a legacy related to changes in reporting characteristics. ORIGINALITY/VALUE : This study explores the future of IR at a critical juncture in corporate reporting history, considering the entry of the ISSB, which is fundamentally changing the landscape of sustainability disclosure standard setting.https://www.emerald.com/insight/publication/issn/1832-5912hj2023Accountin

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