Mr. De Boer led the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat between 2006 and 2010. He has been involved in climate change policies since 1994, helping to prepare the position of the European Union in the lead-up to the negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol, and assisting in the design of the internal burden sharing of the European Union.
With much attention currently focused on short-term economic and financial uncertainty, addressing longer-term non-financial risks requires political focus, public support and international cooperation, which are currently in short supply.
KPMG in Romania’s conference brought together representatives of the Romanian Government, local public administration, leaders of companies, business associations, public institutions, business advisory companies and the media. Speakers included Mr. Serban Toader, Senior Partner of KPMG in Romania and Moldova, Mr. Yvo de Boer, Special Global Advisor, Climate Change and Sustainability, KPMG International, Mr. Wim Bartels, Partner, Global Head of Sustainability Assurance, KPMG Netherlands, as well as Mr. Mugurel Rădulescu, Public Affairs & Communication Manager, Coca-Cola Hellenic.
Mr. de Boer states: “Global challenges, from population growth and resource scarcity to water shortages and a changing climate, are creating an ever more complex operating environment for businesses worldwide. Companies need to manage the risks and grasp the opportunities of these challenges to build long-term business value and growth. Although it is the role of governments to provide the necessary policy frameworks and enabling conditions, businesses must deliver the necessary innovation and solutions.”
Additionally, Mr. de Boer comments: “It is a real pleasure to visit Romania and participate in this conference. Sustainable development is a critical issue for emerging markets, where businesses naturally want to grow, but at the same time need to take account of their impact on the environment and the communities in which they operate. It is encouraging to see that an increasing number of Romanian companies understand the importance of non-financial reporting whether they do this as a separate exercise or as part of an integrated reporting process.“
Serban Toader adds: “We are delighted to welcome our special guests to the Sustainability Conference organized by KPMG in Romania. They bring significant knowledge and experience on climate change, sustainability and environmental policies. These topics are becoming increasingly important for all organizations and many business leaders acknowledge that sustainability influences the future development of their companies. At KPMG, our member firms are building teams that have in-depth insight and skills, which can open up new opportunities for their clients and help them with an increasingly complex web of corporate governance and reporting requirements, emerging regulation and taxes.”
“Within KPMG in Romania, sustainability is a core element of our policies and planning, and we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. For instance, we have stringent targets on cutting our carbon emissions and have been successful in reducing them significantly in recent years as a result of a number of initiatives such as more paperless working and decreasing energy consumption,“ adds Toader.
CFOs who remain dubious about sustainability reporting may have to reconsider”, believes Mr. Wim Bartels, Global Head of Sustainability Assurance at KPMG. “Such reports are becoming mandatory. A base level of sustainable information is now compulsory in 10 of the world’s most significant economies. Since 2009, Denmark has required large companies to include information on sustainability in their annual reports or to justify its absence in a statement. More stock exchanges have listings requirements that include disclosure on environmental impacts and governance. Adoption of ‘integrated reporting’ – through which companies connect corporate strategy, governance and financial performance with non-financial value drivers including sustainability – is gaining momentum. In 2011, the International Integrated Reporting Committee launched a pilot programme it hopes will lead to a new global applied framework”, added Mr. Bartels.
Moreover Mr. Bartels believes that companies and their CFOs specifically need to spend more time in understanding the performance drive that reporting can create: “focusing on the non-financial value drivers deepens insight in what really makes the difference for the ultimate financial bottom line. Understanding how to better manage and monitor these have proven to enable companies to improve financial performance- both by reducing costs and grasping new market opportunities.”
“If we can have a consensus, it is that corporate reporting must change. It needs to evolve and adapt to its purpose in a changing landscape. Integrated reporting offers an opportunity to balance corporate reporting with the decision making process of investors,” concludes Toader.
Geta Diaconu, Director of KPMG in Romania’s Sustainability Advisory services comments: “These days more and more companies understand the importance of sustainability aspects and their integration into business development strategies, as well as in the day to day activities. Reporting of non financial information also represents an increasing trend among Romanian companies. This is generally influenced by demands from shareholders, the public, and the media. Most top managers are now aware that failure to address sustainability issues can lead to serious risks to the business in terms of potential reputational damage as well as other costs.”