Sustainability Reporting for Value Creation and Risk Management
Scope: With the growing demand for businesses today to head towards a more ‘greener way’ of doing business, corporations are facing organisational challenges more than ever before. This is somewhat impeding them from achieving their diverse sustainability accounting goals and reporting necessities. Corporations are now practicing safe ‘gate-keeping’ roles between value creation and risk management in the pursuit of better sustainability performance and knowledge. Businesses today are determined to achieving value creation motives without compromising the needs of various stakeholders.
Purpose: The purpose of this research is to examine the role of risk management and organisational value creation with its linkage to sustainability reporting.
Design and method: The paper undertakes a systematic literature review (SLR) approach and draws contribution from past literature. With the help of SLR, it studies, summarises, compares, and critiques the current state of knowledge by referring to the most relevant scholarly sources on the research topic. The study also carries out archival documentary review of NZ-based Fonterra Group’s sustainability reports and correlates it to literature reviews to give supportive statements and standpoint on sustainability reporting. To allow organisation, preparation, categorisation, and disclosure of public information presented in Fonterra’s sustainability reports and on its webpage, the research employs ‘content analysis’ approach.
Key findings: A whole new industry has grown around sustainability reporting due to growing expectations from the public. Fonterra NZ, however, portrays that its sustainability reporting on the environment is objective and is not using a ‘green wash’ mechanism to influence the decisions of its stakeholders. There are no legal obligations requiring organisations to engage in such reporting. They may do so out of interest, minimise risk and to create value in their undertakings.
Contributions: Companies in the line of business which employ a ‘green approach’ of doing things may use this research to reflect upon the precedence set by Fonterra NZ and incorporate the same when it comes to assurance work and financial reporting. The academic world may utilise the research in the foreseeable future to study the impact of sustainable reporting and the pivotal roles organisational value creation and risk management play in observing a sound business motive.
Limitations and future research: This research relies on sustainability reports of one case company (Fonterra) and therefore readers are cautioned when applying the findings from this study to other contexts (including but not limited to other countries and organisations). Future researchers can adopt alternative research methodologies such as interviews, surveys, focus groups, questionnaire distribution, and site visitations. Primary data collection is recommended. Future researchers can also do an extensive study on this topic and apply other theoretical lenses to examine the issues explored in this dissertation. The engagement of a sustainable reporting assurance provider is recommended to vet the credibility of sustainability reports.
Keywords: sustainable reporting, risk management, value creation, Fonterra NZ
Paper type: qualitative research, systematic literature reviews and archival documentary reviews