For many integrated reporters, the journey of reporting is as compelling as the output. That’s certainly true for Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), a publically traded real estate and investment management firm with operations in more than 80 countries. The company began its journey by asking itself what it means to be sustainable – not just from an environmental perspective, but also to thrive over time and successfully navigate the stumbling blocks that trip up even the most seasoned of companies.
Mark Ohringer, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, admits the journey to integrated reporting at JLL wasn’t a straight line. Reporting at JLL had focused mainly on its 10-K filing, which is a legal requirement and, as in most companies, was used only to communicate with a very narrow audience. But it also encapsulated the information that spoke to JLL’s approach to broader sustainability. The challenge was how to make the content compelling enough for stakeholders to want to read.
Mark points to integrated reporting leaders like SAP and Novo Nordisk as early inspiration for JLL’s transition to using the <IR> framework, and he says JLL still has work to do to achieve that level of reporting. But he also said the reporting process and <IR> has helped the company think much more holistically about its risks and approach to mitigating them. The company conducts a materiality survey annually, and its results help inform the reporting content, such as publishing ethics training and investigation performance.
JLL’s reporting motivations aren’t purely internal, though. While Mark said most mainstream investors still aren’t pushing for data beyond financials, he noted that Al Gore’s sustainability conscious Generation Investment Management is one of JLL’s largest shareholders. Customers, too, are increasingly inquiring about JLL’s environmental and social performance. “It’s a requirement now in our business,” said Mark. “Clients want to know who they’re dealing with.”
JLL’s integrated report is essentially a web portal that connects together diverse sources of information using the <IR> Framework as a roadmap. The company also publishes a separate sustainability report, which describes further the company’s approach to ESG issues. This includes recognition of JLL’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how the company plans to do its part to help meet them, an area where most U.S. companies are lagging. Mark acknowledged that two-thirds of JLL’s revenue is from outside the U.S., and the company needs to be responsive to stakeholders worldwide, including in Europe where sustainability is a more mature practice. Over time, the sustainability report has also included more financial and performance data, demonstrating increased integrated thinking in the organization.
Boston-based reporters and community members are encouraged to join the Integrated Reporting U.S. Community luncheon on March 28 at 12 pm at Workbar Back Bay. Click here to register.
Post authored by Rachel Riccardella of Kite Global Advisors, a thought leadership advisory firm helping clients shape the debate on the issues that matter most to them.
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