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One Report: Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
With One Report, Eccles and Krzus have established a synoptic platform for transparency in corporate reporting. Through numerous case studies and intuitive analysis, Eccles shows a commanding knowledge of the future of integrated reporting for the global market. Of particular interest is the concept of using social media/Web 2.0 tools to customize corporate reporting and engagement with shareholders. One Report is a must read for executives and shareholders of any major corporation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
While perhaps not the hottest topic around the dinner table tonight, revising the way corporations report their financial and nonfinancial information could go a long way in creating a much needed, higher level of transparency through a vehicle for informing shareholders, consumers, and regulatory bodies about a company's strategy and performance. "Sustainability" is no longer the mainstay of just environmental concerns. With the recent meltdown of our economic/financial infrastructure, everyone should be concerned that appropriate actions are taken to avoid a repeat performance. Eccles and Krzus identify "lead users," companies that have taken steps, innovated, and embraced integrated reporting as a means of increasing trust based on increasing integrity.

Part primer on the state of financial and nonfinancial reporting, part survey of successful integrated reporting practice, and part roadmap for implementing a new reporting structure mixed together with a healthy dose of commitment to and passion for the topic, One Report provides us with a framework for not only continuing a discussion, but for actionable, implementable change.

As the authors write, "Leadership depends upon individual initiative." Rather than waiting for it to be "too late," Eccles and Krzus offer us in plain language a look at companies willing to face the sustainability issue head on with the commitment of Boards and C-Suites through shop-floor personnel to greater transparency with integrated reporting, as well as a way to use Web 2.0/social media tools for more than sharing photos and rating restaurants.

Recognizing that "sustainable strategies are not that easy," Eccles and Krzus leverage their vast industry networks, connections to thought leaders (academics and practitioners), and their own creative energies to show corporations, legislative and regulatory bodies, and groups that comprise civil society how to take personal responsibility for making "integrated reporting a social movement" to which we all can contribute.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Eccles and Krusz advance the notion of integrated reporting in a way that illuminates the whole point of sustainability reporting- to have a clearer view of the environmental, social, and governance opportunities and risks facing companies today. Times have changed and finances are not the only thing that stakeholders and corporate managers need to understand in order to make decisions. Integrated reporting is a natural evolution of the idea that sustainability should be integrated into business strategy for it to be effective. The days of bolt-on CSR strategies are behind us, and hopefully the days of separate sustainabilty reports will quickly follow suit. One only hopes that the SEC will consider this approach and issue guidance regarding integrated ESG reporting to be conducted as part of the 10K filings. This could go a long way towards awareness and management of sustainability issues facing corporations in the US.

Integrated reporting has the potential to drive investment and spur competitiveness, on the dimensions of sustainability that really matter. While the book is excellent in terms of making the argument for integrated reporting, it is light on what should actually be in the condensed report, or how to figure that out. Materiality is central to determining this. Eccles and Krzus acknowledge that there is not even concensus on financial materiality, let alone non-financial materiality. This is too important a topic to leave to companies to figure out themselves. The holy grail is not integrated reporting- it is comparable reporting. In order to arrive at this, the SEC will need to issue guidance on materiality and/or a minimum set of KPIs to be reported by sector. This is what can take integrated reporting from a great idea to reality for all listed public companies in the US- with all the public and private benefits that will come from such an approach, as Eccles and Krzus argue so well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
After reading One Report by Harvard Business School professor Robert Eccles, I now see the future of corporate reporting. The idea behind One Report or Integrated Reporting makes commonsense. In this age of often nonsensical and diffuse communications, One Report goes along way in bringing us back to what should be the basics of reporting.

The idea is simple. Eccles argues for companies to produce a single annual report that includes both financial and nonfinancial (e.g., on corporate social responsibility and sustainability metrics) performance information and making that information easily accessible to stakeholders. The idea of taking advantage of Web 2.0 tools to allow the reader to integrate the information in the way they want and when they want it fits squarely with the times. Professor Eccles's argument that integrated reporting provides a way for shareholders, customers, employees, communities as well as analysts to engage with companies more effectively is a winning argument in this new age of transparency and open engagement.

The examples of forward-looking companies who integrate reporting are fascinating and make you leap for the keyboard to find the companies named and see how they are integrating all this information with the click of a mouse. For me, one of the best parts is reading why leaders choose to use this form of reporting and what they learned from the experience. The writing is clear, engaging, rich with detail and resources, and takes you through the history, momentum for this type of reporting, technological considerations and a call to action.

While relatively few companies around the world today are practicing integrated reporting according to Eccles, interest is growing and he points out that a number of trends are accelerating its interest and adoption. These include the convergence in accounting standards, increasing adoption of CSR/sustainability reporting (often using guidelines developed by the Global Reporting Initiative), concerns about climate change, systemic risk in the financial system, globalization and the ability of all stakeholders to leverage the Internet to obtain and share information independent of what the company is providing. The compelling argument for me is that in today's world, if a company isn't actively pulling together a coherent and integrated presentation of its strategy and results in both financial and nonfinancial terms, the story about it will be shaped by others. As Eccles says, here is an opportunity for companies and their CEOs to improve their reputations for transparency, openness, leadership and engagement by seriously employing this type of unified reporting.

A commitment to integrated reporting must come from the very top, such as the CEO or board. The idea doesn't have to originate there, but it will only work if the CEO and board visibly demonstrate in both words and deeds their commitment to integrated reporting. With that green light, a variety of groups within the company such as finance, investor relations, corporate communications, public relations, marketing, the CSR department (if a separate one exists) and key business units can get involved and move the initiative forward.

Given that business is in a state of enormous transition and change with (hopefully) many old ways of doing things being questioned and radically new approaches being considered, Eccles's One Report lays out a process that should be taken seriously because this is the wave of the future!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The highlights for me in this book are:
1. Eccles and Krzus have made this a truly international book. Brilliant to see examples of leading edge corporate reporting taken from around the world. Many of the organizations mentioned in the book will come as no surprise, but I was fascinated to read about solutions provided by a Brazilian company called Aracruz. Until I read this book, they were certainly not on my radar screen!
2. Great to see reference so many recent events (eg Copenhagen climate conference)
3. The graphic on second page of this book illustrating the increasing use of the term "global warming" says it all in many ways! I also liked the way the authors then repeated this graphic by searching on other key words found in corporate reporting (eg sustainability, corporate social responsibility etc
4. Was interested to understand more about Web 2.0 and where the world is currently at with Web 3.0 and Integrated Reporting. (I'm not sure that many indivudals appreciate the latent potential in this new technology)
5. Krzus and Eccles say that integrated reporting requires the strong commitment of the CEO - how right they are! They also go to say that social change happens "one individual at a time" and this struck a pleasant chord with me.
6. Few people will be aware of Prince Charles' strong support for this initiative - this will come as a surprise to many.
7. Finally, the book's acknowledgements ends up being a "who's who" listing of individuals in the world of both financial and non-financial reporting. The insight these individuals shared with the authors and their research assistants makes this a very useful and thought provoking book, particularly if you have to decide not only what, but also how much, to include in your next corporate report.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
They employ most of us, they can easily annoy us and they have immense capacity to damage us and our world. They are unchecked. Companies, big and small, tell us very little about how they see their responsibilities to us both as shareholders or as citizens and what they are doing about them. But at least as shareholders we can see the static balance-sheet inspired reports and accounts and these give us some inkling as to how they will dispose of our funds and interests. On the greater matters of their physical and social impact there is usually virtual silence.

But this could all change, and for the better. Bob Eccles's One Report is a comprehensive manifesto for change. If his proposals are adopted companies of all sizes will have to measure their impact just as carefully as their cash-flow. His call is for integrated reporting on a dynamic basis using the power of the Internet to coalesce financial and nonfinancial reporting and to do so with great thoroughness across carbon, and ecosystem dimensions.

Some of the best companies already do this - Ricoh, Natura, Novo Nordisk and UTC. The transformation that Eccles calls for is fundamental - and it matters not just to eco-warriors but to all of us so that we know what is going on, on a systematic basis and can measure impacts almost as they happen and compel governments to listen and act. It is time for the regulators to wake up to the great lacunae that stretch like vast chasms over our corporate landscape and take action. Here is their bible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A great book that focuses on the essence of corporate reporting. In the current scenario were a lot of companies are showing weak financials and sometimes covering up a lot of facts. This book comes in as a welcome change and makes a strong case for corporate transparency. This book makes a strong argument for corporations to revamp their reporting for the sake of all the essential stakeholders associated with the firm.

A must read !!!
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on April 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
By its in-depth analyses and actionable prescriptions of integrated reporting alone, One Report by Eccles and Krzus is an insightful and practical reading for business leaders as well as for any one who need to interact with financial reports.

However, the innovative idea behind the book makes it a real gem and a must-read for serious thought leaders regardless of their occupation: corporate executives, analysts, accountants, regulators, researchers, etc.

The fundamental question that Eccles and Krzus trying to answer is: the current reporting system is inadequate facing crises - what should we do? With our extensive and repeated experiences with all sorts of crises - environmental crisis, energy crisis, financial crisis, etc. , it has become painfully clear that, the information that would have helped us to identify and mitigate the crisis much earlier was actually abundant. However, the information has rarely been made widely available at that time. It may not be any single party's fault - the scope of reporting required by regulators, provided by corporations and consumed by investors is almost always made based on past experiences and thus likely to be inadequate in dealing with new problems.

What additional information should be reported so that we can deal with a new (or sometimes even unknown) problem better? It is a hard question but the answer is needed to avoid or mitigate future crises and lead to a more sustainable future. The immediate action recommended in One Report is: starting with the most pressing ones and integrating them into the corporate report. However, One Report does not think that you should stop there - more information should and can be shared.

In Chapter 7 of One Report, there are very comprehensive discussions about the ways of leveraging computers and the Internet in reporting. While more and more companies are digitalizing their operations, unprecedented amount of readily available information are generated - which practically forms many living streams of data and reports. With certain limitations, a potentially large part of the digitalized information can be easily reported to the regulators or to the general public. With these additional data, interested parties would be able - also with the help of computers and the Internet - to find potential problems and solutions earlier rather than later.

In One Report, "One" is Many - the authors are arguing for the sharing of many types of information (rather than just financial information). At the same time, Many are also "One" - everything a corporation reports should be integrated and subjected to the same standard as they are all serving the "One" purpose of securing a sustainable future for all of us.
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on April 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Book review for One Report

In this excellent book, Eccles and Krzus make a strong case for combining financial and nonfinancial (including environmental, social and governance) performance in One Report, through which companies could trigger ongoing dialogue with their stakeholders as well as shareholders to manage their expectations and to balance the trade-offs between short-term and long-term profitability.

The publication of the One Report is very timely for the Corporate China. In 2010, the 13th session of the 11th Standing Committee of the National People's Congress stipulated that China will adopt multiple measures to strongly develop low-carbon development policies. In 2009, the Shanghai Stock Exchange issued Social Responsibility Index, which aimed at encouraging listed companies to actively undertake their social responsibilities. In 2008, Shanghai Stock Exchange launched Corporate Governance Index, the purpose of which was to promote the importance of internal control and board of directors' responsibility.

At this juncture of China's high-paced economic development, it seems to be more imperative than moral responsibilities for Chinese managers to think through how to incorporate nonfinancial factors into their strategies. In integrating multiple reports into one, Chinese managers need to put their strategies in perspective and consider carefully the interrelationships between strategies and their corporate social responsibilities (CSR). CSR in this way will become integral, if not core, to the whole strategy making process. An integrated corporate report that records the performance of such holistic view of strategy making, according to Eccles and Krzus, could bring companies a virtuous circle that is composed of "greater clarity about relationship and commitment," "better decisions," "deeper engagement with all stakeholders," and "lower reputational risk."

One Report provides important and useful tools for Chinese companies. The best practices documented in this book are truly international, including those at Aracruz and Natura in Brazil, Novo Nordisk in Denmark, United Technologies Corporation in the United States, Ricoh in Japan, and Philips in the Netherlands, all of which could be great sources of inspiration for Chinese enterprises. I recommend this book highly.

Cheng-Hua Tzeng (Ph.D.), Assistant Professor of Strategy, School of Management, Fudan University, Shanghai, China (chtzeng@fudan.edu.cn).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is a pleading in defense of the One Report methodology (and a pretty vibrant and convincing one), but it doesn't really explain how you can practically build one such report. I would have liked some methodological insights.
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