Elevating Accenture’s ESG reporting
Affirming our commitment to transparency and accountability to our ESG goals and progress.
Organizations around the world are waking up to the opportunities that sustainability offers. Years ago, sustainability was viewed as a compliance issue, then as a corporate responsibility. Today, we believe that sustainability is about competitiveness and one of the most important drivers of growth for the coming decade. It is no longer a “nice-to-have,” but a “must-have” for all stakeholders.
The Accenture Sustainability Value Promise is to embed sustainability into everything we do, with everyone we work with, creating both business value and sustainable impact, enabled by technology and human ingenuity. Our approach is grounded in science, economics and data by design—it is built into our business strategy, not “bolted on.”
We have set ambitious sustainability goals—for climate action, net-zero emissions, workforce equality and other priorities—and we continue to build on the momentum that emerged from COP26 to combat climate change and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
To do this, we have implemented targeted actions for all our goals to drive change across our business and for our clients. But we knew we needed to do more—not only to meet the evolving needs of all our stakeholders, but to truly embed sustainability across our business.
To create 360° Value for all our stakeholders, we also had to measure and share our progress across multiple dimensions of value—including sustainability and financial performance—and do so in a way that’s not only data-driven, transparent and clear but connected and integrated with our business strategy.
Accenture defines “360° Value” as delivering the financial business case and unique value a client may be seeking, along with striving to partner with our clients to achieve greater progress across these additional dimensions: Client, Talent, Inclusion & Diversity, Experience, Sustainability and Financial. Accenture applies these same categories of value to how we operate our business.
“There is now an opportunity for organizations to gather comprehensive ESG data that can help transform how they do business—building accountability across the organization, achieving global sustainability goals and ultimately creating greater business value.”
We launched our 360° Value Reporting Experience with our fiscal year 2021 results to demonstrate the multiple ways we create, drive and measure value, both in serving our clients and operating our business. The Reporting Experience brings together, for the first time, all our financial and environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics, progress and performance in one place.
Integrating our ESG and financial reporting required a true partnership across Accenture and with key ecosystem partners. It also required fundamental changes to our core business processes and data-gathering and analytics.
The Reporting Experience involved an unprecedented collaboration across our organization. Functional Accenture teams—including Finance, Investor Relations, Legal, Sustainability, Corporate Citizenship, Human Resources, Global IT, Geographic Services, Marketing and the business—worked together to build the Accenture 360° Value Reporting Experience—a holistic, integrated and interactive digital hub. The Reporting Experience itself is innovative, in addition to the content and approach.
We transformed our approach to reporting by focusing on the information needs of all our stakeholders—our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities. At the same time, we addressed the needs of compliance—to provide clear and transparent disclosure across the various ESG frameworks, demonstrating how we create value for all our stakeholders.
Here’s how we did it:
Started with reporting strategy, leadership and culture We began with the fundamentals—securing clear direction from our Chair and CEO Julie Sweet and obtaining Accenture board and leadership commitment on our reporting strategy. We also created a consistent, integrated message about how we deliver 360° Value to our stakeholders.
We established a governance model to create a culture of shared success and a steering committee to execute on our reporting strategy. Additionally, we defined key roles and responsibilities across the organization and created a dedicated ESG team to work across the company. Among the team’s many activities, they collaborated to confirm our reporting experience met the needs of all our stakeholders.
Built on a strong ESG foundation As a long-standing partner of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), we had an opportunity to build on our foundation of ESG reporting. Using our ESG priorities and relevant issues for all our key stakeholders, we advanced our goals and commitments and are implementing targeted actions with enhanced, transparent reporting.
In addition to our ongoing comprehensive United Nations Global Compact: Communication on Progress ESG report, we expanded our ESG reporting for fiscal year 2021 with three additional frameworks: the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB); the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD); and the World Economic Forum International Business Council (WEF IBC) metrics. At the same time, we continued to report against the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, the United Nations Global Compact’s (UNGC) Ten Principles and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
Ultimately, our goal is to create 360° Value for all our stakeholders. We measure our success by how well we are achieving this goal.
Raised the bar on data assurance and quality Because sustainability is a business priority, we consider sustainability metrics as important as financial data. We leveraged the rigor and discipline of our Controllership function to evaluate our data governance over policies, systems, internal controls and assurance. We also aligned data-gathering and reporting timelines and established an integrated and unified reporting experience.
Applied technology Technology not only enables transformation, it allows companies to facilitate reliable, real-time reporting. At Accenture, we leverage our centralized core systems, including a single global instance of SAP and a single global instance of Workday. We know that “one source of truth” is critical. This single instance best practice enables us to gather data efficiently and it ensures that the data is captured systematically, accurately and in a repeatable way.
Looking ahead, we’re assessing how technology can help better capture workflows and data across multiple sources in a more timely and accurate manner. We’re considering automation of data flows as well as calculation engines for analytics and dashboarding around our priorities, key goals and commitments. To help address our needs, we plan to look to some of our ecosystem partners, including Microsoft, Salesforce and SAP, for solutions.
Designed a new reporting experience Our team led the creation of the new Accenture 360° Value Reporting Experience, uniquely designed to demonstrate comprehensively the value Accenture is delivering. The launch of this digital reporting hub achieved clear, consistent messaging around all our reporting, heightened the user experience and streamlined the creation and sharing of key data across all our reporting. This new, modular approach to reporting is designed to evolve and grow with Accenture’s business strategy and the transforming global environment for ESG standards.
Our new integrated reporting delivers transparency and accountability—the hallmarks, we believe, of good governance and essential to the trust we have earned with our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities. Our objective is to continually measure our performance and report how well we are achieving our goal to create 360° Value for all our stakeholders.
But reporting is just the beginning. Accenture continues to build sustainability into our business, making it one of our greatest responsibilities, with a goal of embedding it by design into everything we do and for everyone we work with: our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities.
Leaders have a real opportunity to drive a new era of performance by making the best use of technology and new ways of collaborating to bring the right ESG data to stakeholders, while contributing to a company’s competitiveness in the marketplace.