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An analysis of sustainability and integrated reporting in Norway

Posted 3 February, 2020

In 2019, for the second year running, Deloitte Norway studied the annual and sustainability reports of the 50 largest companies headquartered in the country, analysing their maturity in terms of integrated reporting and sustainability reporting.

Norwegian companies generally recognise that a focus on sustainability and social responsibility provide a competitive advantage, and that access to information related to these areas is important for stakeholders. Creating credibility and trust in corporate reporting will be extremely important going forwards. Greenwashing will not serve any market participants in the long run.

Deloitte supports the development of integrated reporting – this framework is, in our opinion, central to improved corporate governance and reporting.

Given integrated reporting is not mandatory in Norway many of the companies in the sample do not use the International <IR> Framework, we believe the guiding principles and content elements of the <IR> Framework provide a good indication of the level of maturity of the corporate reporting of financial and non-financial results.

The main findings from our analysis are as follows:

  • Third party assurance of non-financial information is a rising trend, although still in a minority of the companies
  • The journey to integrated reporting starts with a thorough stakeholder and maturity analysis
  • The number of companies that address the UN SDGs is increasing, although few articulate an integration with the corporate strategy
  • The standard of reporting in 2018 was similar to the prior year – few improvements have been noted
  • The larger companies, unsurprisingly, achieve higher scores than the smaller companies in the sample
  • There are significant variations in the quality of reporting between industries, with financial services and energy companies achieving the highest scores
  • Reports are generally complex, voluminous and with a lack of connectivity
  • There are few signs of the involvement of the Board of Directors, other than in the Directors’ Report.