There’s a creation myth familiar to global companies in the integrated reporting world. It goes something like this: Integrated reporting starts in European operations and then is slowly adopted in other territories, once the benefits become evident; the U.S. is among the last take it up.
But not every company fits that narrative. Beth Spurgeon, USA Corporate Responsibility Manager for ArcelorMittal, joined the monthly <IR> U.S. Community spotlight series on May 9, 2018 to talk about how the global steel giant’s reporting has evolved. For them, the story begins in the United States, not in Europe. (Technically, it started in South Africa, where integrated reports are mandatory, but it’s in the U.S. where the practice really picked up steam.)
At ArcelorMittal, global reporting comes out of headquarters, in Luxembourg. But they realized that country-level reports were needed, in order to address stakeholders’ material needs within each country. In the U.S., local reporting started with a separate financial “fact book,” principally for the U.S. workforce, and it progressed into a full-fledged integrated report in 2015. Now, they think of their U.S. report as equal parts sustainability report, fact book, GRI report and IRRC report. The 2016 report (the 2017 report was due to be published a few weeks after the <IR> U.S. Community call) includes a downloadable PDF and executive summary, five years of interactive data and videos.
The report’s connection with strategy really comes through. “In pursuing an integrated report, ArcelorMittal acknowledges how the six capitals model pioneered by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) connects directly to our business strategy,” the report says. “By integrating these capitals into our business strategy, we work to create a balanced business model that emphasizes outcomes beyond just our financial sustainability.” Through a concise table, the company illustrates the integration of the six capitals with strategy.
The clarity of the connection between reporting and strategy doesn’t mean that measurement difficulties have been solved. Spurgeon conceded that they’re still firming up kpis. However, she stressed, it was important to see the connection with strategy and to start communicating with stakeholders, even before the kpis were in place.
Those stakeholders are clearly top of mind for ArcelorMittal, mentioned 96 times in the 120-page report. This table summarizes the engagement approaches that are integral to strategy.
ArcelorMittal continues to advance its integrated reporting and, importantly, the connections it makes between reporting and strategy. This was a topic of great interest to the <IR> US Community members on the call.
Corporate reporters on the call also got to hear Spurgeon detail interesting experiences developing the report. The functions that supported the effort from within the organization, for example, would surprise many. There were other conversations on the importance of sustainability for talent development and, of course, some candid thoughts on how natural resource scarcity fits into the steelmaker’s vision of sustainability.
Join us for the next <IR> U.S. Community spotlight to speak directly with other practitioners in integrated reporting.
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