With its latest sustainability report, Maersk takes a big step in the direction of integrated reporting
The 2012 sustainability report from Maersk – the company’s full name is AP Moller-Maersk –reads, in several places, like a business case presentation for integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into business strategy and operations. At nearly every turn, it ties performance on its material issues – safety, corruption, oil spills, arctic operations, energy use, and CO2 emissions – to its ability to reduce risk and costs and grow its business. What’s more, the report’s remarkably frank discussions of sticky issues such as fatalities and corruption are a breath of fresh air in a reporting landscape littered with murkiness and cliché.
While many companies claim, with little evidence, that sustainability is integrated into their operations, Maersk backs up its claims with detailed descriptions of how that is the case, and how it isn’t. Maersk has created a new enterprise risk management framework that integrates sustainability; top management are held accountable for progress on sustainability metrics; and more than 1,000 leaders completed sustainability training last year. It has developed a “sustainability dashboard” that requires business units to assess operations on a variety of criteria, including goals and targets, resource allocation, stakeholder engagement, and measuring accountability for sustainability metrics.
As important, however,...