KPMG carried out a review of the key characteristics of a wide range of various reporting options and methods available, and how they respond to the latest developments in the sustainability landscape.
This market review provides an overview of the key characteristics of sustainability reporting systems. In July 2011 we sent out an questionnaire by email. We received feedback on our questionnaire from 17 software vendors. The questionnaire was based on the GRI reporting set and provides an overview of the basic requirements for the sustainability reporting process.
Igor Korotetskiy, Head of Corporate Governance & Sustainability, KPMG in Russia and the CIS, remarked, "Although Russian companies in terms of KPMG maturity model for sustainability reporting systems are basically at a very early stage of development, we believe that this study will undoubtedly be of use to them. Performance management in sustainable development is without exception becoming increasingly vital across all sectors, and of particular importance is the quality of the reporting system that provides the sustainability data. This study represents an excellent opportunity for a company to shape its vision with respect to its reporting system, based on a thorough and independent analysis."
Key findings of the characteristics in this market review are:
- Sustainability reporting software can be divided into standalone packages (focusing on a dedicated solution for sustainability reporting) and packages that are part or a module of a larger ERP system (focusing on an integrated solution including sustainability). In the long run, we expect that the trend towards integrated reporting will also be a driver towards integrated solutions.
- The market for sustainability reporting software is young. The majority of available packages (76%) have been introduced since 2008; the remaining 24% were introduced between 2005 and 2008. Compared with financial reporting and ERP packages, this market is certainly still maturing.
- Infrastructure techniques have various characteristics. Although all packages have a web interface, 24% of the solutions are entirely in ‘the cloud’
- Many packages offer all the expected functionality, either as part of a standard package or as part of a tailor-made solution. Differences are found in the standard (GRI) reporting possibilities available, although the majority of the solutions offer additional reporting options that can be used without having the in-depth knowledge of the underlying data model
- The solutions offer standard sustainability functionality, such as annual assessments (for example on carbon footprint) and reporting.
- Although the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is the leading standard output format and CDP is also commonly used, not all solutions are equipped to report on all the standard disclosure indicators.