Deloitte Developing Water Tool; Outlines Integrated Reporting Benefits

by | Sep 27, 2011

Deloitte is helping to develop the Water Action Hub, a public online tool to help companies collaborate with governments, non-profits, communities and each other to improve sustainable water management.

The consulting firm is teaming with the International Business Leaders Forum, the Pacific Institute and the German International Development Agency in developing the hub under the CEO Water Mandate, part of the United Nations Global Compact.

Deloitte’s pro bono contribution to IBLF, valued at up to $500,000, will allow organizations to access an online clearinghouse for emerging corporate water accounting methods, tools, and stewardship practices.

Deloitte director Will Sarni said the tool works at the watershed levels to help organizations build local water stewardship strategies.

The Hub will feature a mapping function that visually places each facility and/or organizations within watershed maps to help organizations better understand stakeholders and initiatives in their watersheds of interest. Watershed maps are designed to allow companies to build upon their use of other online analytical mapping and water risk characterization tools such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Global Water Tool and the World Resource Institute’s Aqueduct project.

In other news, a Deloitte white paper argues that the movement towards integrated reporting on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues continues to gain momentum despite the relatively slow spread of regulatory mandates in this area.

In the paper, Integrated Reporting: A better view? (pdf), Deloitte said companies that lead the pack in integrated reporting may find significant benefits, including marketplace advantages. Organizations that report on the full spectrum of issues may be seen as more advanced than those that restrict their reporting to traditional financial statements, according to the paper. Other benefits may include better risk management and the identification of new opportunities.

Deloitte argues that sustainability is about value creation and not simply compliance or avoiding harmful effects, and that this should be reflected by a company’s reporting (see chart).

The paper said that several decades after the first environmental reports, and despite “clear benefits” of integrated reporting, standardization remains elusive. But a number of initiatives are underway by governmental and nongovernmental groups to develop sustainability-related frameworks, principles, codes, and management systems.

One such effort is being led by the International Integrated Reporting Committee, which recently released a discussion paper proposing an international integrated reporting framework. Deloitte says its member firms will provide a response to the IIRC paper by the deadline of December 14.

A coalition of institutions led by Aviva Investors has just called on United Nations member states to develop a global policy framework requiring listed and large private companies to integrate sustainability information throughout their annual report and accounts – or explain why they are unable to do so.

And B Lab recently announced that Deloitte is a Pioneer Funder for GIIRS Ratings & Analytics, a set of tools to help investors analyze aggregated, verified and comparable data on the social and environmental impact of companies and funds across geography, sector, organizational maturity, and size.

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