The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada organization has published a new study on the evolving corporate reporting landscape, focusing particularly on sustainability issues.

The CPA Canada briefing, An Evolving Corporate Reporting Landscape: A Briefing on Sustainability Reporting, Integrated Reporting, and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting, aims to help public companies understand three sets of guidance associated with voluntary reporting from the Global Reporting Initiative, the International Integrated Reporting Council and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.

The three sets of guidance address reporting on sustainability is addressed in different ways, CPA Canada noted. While such reporting is largely voluntary in Canada, beyond what securities regulators call for regarding certain social and environmental issues, sustainability and integrated reporting are either already mandatory or may become so in some other countries and regions, the group pointed out.

“Reporting changes occurring internationally call for business enterprises to provide a broader array of information relating to the entity’s value, performance, prospects and impacts—calls which sooner or later may become more evident in Canada,” says Alan Willis, an independent advisor to CPA Canada and co-author of the publication. “This clearly highlights why organizations need to keep up to speed with the emergence of new voluntary reporting proposals and guidance as well as ever-changing regulatory requirements.”

The briefing also outlines how the three forms of voluntary guidance relate to the principles and disclosure framework set out in another CPA Canada publication, Management's Discussion and Analysis – Guidance on preparation and disclosure.

In presenting information about the three forms of voluntary reporting, CPA Canada cautioned that it neither advocates their use nor evaluates their respective merits. The purpose of the publication is to provide useful and factual information in a concise manner.

“CPA Canada supports continuous improvement in the relevance of corporate reporting, and publications like the briefing help both companies and report users, such as investors, better understand the changes taking place in today's global reporting landscape,” said Willis.

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