Integrate and act

Organisations bring together all available information to make management decisions

Last updated: December 2, 2021

Overview

Organisations made decisions based on the sum of all information available at the time, including information about the value the organisation creates for itself and for its stakeholders.

The practice of integrated thinking recognises the interrelatedness between financial and sustainability information, and describes how organisations should collect and use both types of information together to inform decision-making. It describes the conditions and processes that are conducive to an integrated process of decision-making, management and reporting, and so should be a feature of the governance and management processes. These processes require continuous improvement based on what has been learned, in order to make changes where necessary.

All other impact management actions prepare and equip an organisation to make decisions that result in taking action to reduce negative impacts and – where possible – increase positive impacts.

Bringing all information together helps organisations identify any trade-offs they may need to make for a given decision. Trade-offs are inevitable, as organisations act within the constraints of their available resources and so can rarely maximise value for all stakeholders simultaneously.

Collecting information, but not using it to guide decision-making, is not impact management.

Having made decisions, organisations will typically re-visit their objectives and may re-set targets to manage how they are creating value and for whom.

Reporting all information in an integrated way in turn enables an organisation’s stakeholders to make integrated decisions. The ‘disclosure’ action covers integrated reporting in detail.


Resources

Guidance on making integrated decisions

Integrated Reporting Framework

Last updated: 2021

Reporting framework that provides principles-based guidance for organisations seeking to create an integrated report, containing both financial and non-financial information. The guidance is tailored specifically for private sector, for-profit companies, but the Framework can also be applied to the public sector and non-for-profit organisations.

Use this resource to:

  • Integrate and act: Follow integrated thinking principles to improve the organisation’s understanding of the connectivity and interdependencies between the range of factors that affect an organisation’s ability to create value over time.
  • Disclose: Report to providers of financial capital on sustainability topics that are likely to affect value creation over the short-, medium-, and long-term.

CDSB Framework for Reporting Environmental and Climate Change Information

Last updated: 2019

Reporting Framework offers companies seven guiding principles and 12 reporting requirements to help prepare (financially) material and decision-useful environmental disclosures for the mainstream report. CDSB additionally offers topic-specific guidance for companies, such as on climate-related reporting and climate accounting.

Use this resource to:

  • Integrate and act: Follow CDSB’s guiding principles to understand how to prepare environmental and climate change information in a way that connects to mainstream financial information.
  • Disclose: Report on financially material environmental and climate change information.

Maximise Your Impact: A Guide for Social Entrepreneurs

Last updated: 2017

Guidance to help an organisation maximise the positive social value it creates.

Use this resource to:

  • Set and revise objectives: Use the guidance on engaging stakeholders and understanding their objectives and needs in order to design a business model around delivering these objectives.
  • Assess impact: Check whether the organisation has all the information it needs to assess impact. The guidance contains 10 questions that guide impact assessment and function as a checklist to ensure all necessary contextual information is collected.
  • Integrate and act: Follow the guide to integrate information on social value into management decision-making.

SDG Impact Standards for Enterprises

Last updated: 2021

Practice standards that provide a common language and a system for integrating sustainable development issues, the Sustainable Development Goals and impact management into business and investment decision-making. These practice standards also outline the ‘ABC’ classification methodology, which helps organisations assess whether an impact ‘Acts to reduce harm’, ‘Benefits stakeholders’, or ‘Contributes to solutions’ in relation to the SDGs.

Use this resource to:

Set up processes and embed practices that orient an organisation towards achieving the SDGs. The SDG Impact Standard contains practice indicators that are relevant to several actions. Use the links below to access guidance for different practice indicators. Alternatively, view the whole guidance document here.


Definitions

Impact

A change in an aspect of people’s well-being or the condition of the natural environment caused by an organisation.

Source: Impact Management Platform; Well-being defined as in OECD Well-being Framework

Integrated thinking

The active consideration by an organisation of the relationships between its various operating and functional units and the capitals (or resources) that the organisation uses or affects. Integrated thinking leads to integrated decision-making and actions that consider the creation, preservation or erosion of value over the short-, medium- and long-term. In considering value, the organisation recognizes that the value created for itself (and, by extension, its providers of financial capital) is linked to the value created for other stakeholders and society at large.

Source: Value Reporting Foundation (VRF) Integrated Reporting Framework

Management

The processes used by the organisation to identify, assess and manage sustainability performance.

Source: Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

Stakeholder

An entity or individual that can reasonably be expected to be significantly affected by the organisation’s activities, products and services, or whose actions can reasonably be expected to affect the ability of the organisation to successfully implement its strategies and achieve its objectives.

Source: Global Reporting Initiative (GRI); OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct; OECD Well-being Framework; Value Reporting Foundation (VRF) Integrated Reporting Framework

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