Sustainability and Integrated Reporting

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The purpose of this report is to identify and analyse what it means to be a sustainable business, how to report for it, and the cost/benefits of integrated reporting.

By using Woolworths as an example of what to expect and the outcomes of their progress I dissect the strategy Woolworths adopted in attempting to implement sustainability into their every day-to-day operations and through doing so have resulted in a conclusion with a recommendation for Coolworths. Sustainability will require heavy investment in the short term, however with the correct approach, attitude, and strategy, investments into sustainability will pay for themselves in the long run and furthermore allow us a solid foundation for further developments in sustainability; this will also allow for us to produce integrated reports presenting stakeholders a completely transparent view of the company and our performance as an entire unit.

INTRODUCTION
Sustainability and sustainability reporting is becoming an increasingly popular trend globally especially after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) stakeholders are requesting more honest, and faithful representation of information released by entities. Not only does it allow for stakeholders, and investors a more transparent view of our company but it also allows results in benefits. Sustainability, or sustainable development is defined as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (Brundtland Report, 1987).

The purpose of this paper is to identify the impacts, and issues, weighing up the benefits against the costs to foster a recommendation and conclusion on whether Coolworths should adopt an approach to sustainability, sustainability reporting and ultimately integrated reporting. In this research paper, Woolworths, our major competitor will be used as an example to give rise and shed light on the outcomes of their recent endeavor towards this new and innovative strategy.

WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY
In order to fully understand the context of this paper we must first understand what it means to be sustainable, the related impacts, benefits, challenges and associated costs with implementing such an approach.

A further expansion on the above definition of sustainability, to be sustainable company, the company must be able to carry out day-to-day operations that do not detriment the future operating life of the entity.

Therefore, if Coolworths were to adopt a sustainability strategy, factors that must be considered include the use of energy and greenhouse gas emissions, use of fuel, use of water, packaging processes, waste management, waste generation from activities and store development.

For example, Woolworths, already has in place a number of programs that promote and represent their ‘green and clean’ image; such programs include animal welfare, ethical sourcing, genetically modified goods, green stores and others. On the specific topic of sustainability itself energy use in air-conditioning, lighting, and refrigeration is made eco-friendly as well as water use.

The reasoning behind their move towards sustainable business practices is the changing needs of their customers, and the society around them including how they feel. In changing the direction and strategy of the company the CEO feels that he can re-align the business and build loyalty from customers and effort from employees

STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
The decision of whether or not to engage in sustainable business practices is one thing, but implementation of the entire strategy and the success in which we are able to implement it is all down to how we as a company engage our stakeholders as the change/move towards a sustainable company is not only a decision based, but also behavioral.

Woolworths, in implementing their sustainability program ‘Doing the Right Thing: Sustainability Strategy 2007-2015’ have outlined a number...
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