Odyssey from sustainability to 'ESG risk and value reporting system'

Posi Olatubosun, Jill Atkins

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The risk society theory presumes that the risks facing the society are uncertain in nature, which suggests that the report itself is expected to be dynamic, partly explaining the seemingly continuous changes in the requirements of the content and form of the SR since the GRI framework was introduced in 2002, thereby eliciting calls for more imaginative ESG reporting system (See Gray 2002, 2006; Adam, 2004). Based on observations at Investors’ Relations (IR) meetings in the UK from 2014 to 2017, evidences gathered indicates growing interest in Value Reporting from the investment community, and many continue to express anxieties about the preparedness of the directors to cope with likely future changes which the business can only adapt to, especially regarding the environment, thereby strengthening the case for a narrative reporting system, in agreement with Caldecott and Kruitwagen (2016) and Lev and Gu, 2016. Some of the recent developments, like the TCFD initiative has put forward some recommendations for improving climate related disclosures in sustainability reports, similar in concept to the ‘what if’ model developed by Petrov et al, (2016) in reporting climate change risks. These two reports are also in tandem with Integrated Reporting <IR> which views capital from an accountability rather than a stewardship point of view. However, <IR> do not adequately connect financial reporting and environmental risks (Atkins et al., 2015; Carels et al., 2014; Solomon and Maroun, 2012) as there are no incentives for the monetisation of environmental costs. Meanwhile, the accounting profession and the financial reporting regulators continues to show sluggishness in making narrative reporting or <IR> compulsory, thereby frustrating any gains made through the TCFD initiative. Various reporting gaps were also identified in agreement with views (Adam, 2004; Gray, 2006) stressing the need for an overhaul of the existing reporting system with new innovative and imaginative ideas where ESG reporting can serve as a proxy for risk management. For instance, biodiversity reporting is a relatively new development, calls are being made to include material biodiversity costs in the annual reports of companies (see Rimmel and Jonall, 2013; Atkins et al., 2015). Through data gathered from IR meetings, four main problems that these investors want their ideal Value Reporting System to address, i.e. VRS framework, ESG financialisation, real time information, and assurance, were critically analysed through content and qualitative thematic analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2019
EventThe 11th International Conference in Critical Management Studies: Precarious Presents, Open Futures - Open University Business School, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Jun 201929 Jun 2019


ConferenceThe 11th International Conference in Critical Management Studies
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityMilton Keynes
Internet address


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