To and fro Frankfurt, Germany for the IIRC Council meeting

By Leigh Roberts
CEO of the IRC of SA

I attended the IIRC Council meeting in Frankfurt on 11 April. It was well worth the effort of 20 hours’ flying (made more palatable by remarkably good service from SAA) for a one-night stay in Germany.

Notably, because it marked the IRC of SA’s first meeting as a Council member. While there has long been an informal relationship between the two bodies, we are now officially a member of the IIRC Council.  Our association stems back to 2010 when the IRC of SA’s Discussion Paper on a Framework for an Integrated Report (a world first; accessible on the “Our history” page on this website) was used as the basis for the development of the IIRC’s International <IR> Framework. Indeed, Mervyn King, Graham Terry, myself and other South Africans all shared our input in the crafting of the International <IR> Framework that is today used by over 1700 organizations in 70 countries.

Back to the Frankfurt meeting …. Also noteworthy was that it was the first meeting led by Dominic Barton, the new Chairman of Council. Dominic succeeds Mervyn King – who has been honoured for his years of tireless service to the IIRC with the position of Chairman Emeritus. And fortunately for the IRC of SA Mervyn continues as our Chairman, ably assisted by Deputy Chairman Suresh Kana (who is also the Chairman of the King Committee – and who nobly swapped his business class ticket for my coach seat on the return trip from Frankfurt!)

The IIRC Council members really are the who’s who of the global organisations with an interest in reporting. They include (and forgive all the acronyms) IASB, IAASB, A4S, WBCSD, GRI, IOSCO, ICSA, ICGN, SASB, CDP, IMA, IIA, IFAC, PRI, Transparency International and major accounting firms and corporates.

Some points of interest from the day’s discussions:

  • IR in the digital world – a move to real-time integrated information in the next five years? (We’ll cover this hot topic in the IRC of SA’s Annual Conference at the JSE on 18 July.)
  • The Corporate Reporting Dialogue’s Better Alignment Project is doing good work in its aim of reducing duplication among the many sustainability frameworks and reporting guidelines that organisations are faced with. (The global online survey is open to May 2019 and South Africa hosted the first roundtable discussion event at EY earlier in April).
  • The New Zealand government prepares a multi-capitals budget (wow, that’s progressive).
  • The IIRC will soon be releasing a white paper on the six capitals.
  • The TCFD built the International <IR> Framework into its recommendations.
  • A new global survey of integrated reports in ten countries concluded that South Africa has the best quality of reports. And the IRC of SA was recognized as a critical factor in our country’s success in integrated reporting. (A proud moment for us all.)