Hard to believe, but PALFINGER has been reporting on financial and non-financial developments as part of an annual integrated report since 2013. It comprises the economic and legal information as well as describes the aspects and results of the sustainability management.
Why integrated reporting?
Some may ask themselves, why did PALFINGER go this way? We are convinced that dealing with the opportunities, risks and effects of our own activities along the entire value chain determines the success of our company. Therefore, it was only a matter of time before the integrated reporting took place.
Basically, one can choose between 3 types of reporting:
- Sustainability report
- PALFINGER has produced a sustainability report since 2004
- Publication mostly Downstream
- 1 envelope with 2 separate reports (again a separate sustainability report
- Publication at the same time
- Integrated Annual Report
- Sustainability report is integrated in the annual report (integration variants from individual chapters to full integration in all passages)
- Publication at the same time
In 2012, PALFINGER has decided for the latter form of reporting: the integrated annual report. On the one hand, it was planned to change the international framework for sustainable reporting, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) 3.1 to 4.0. This enabled a significant reduction in the reporting requirement due to the increased focus on a materiality analysis. On the other hand, the question arose: if sustainable aspects determine the company’s success, why not report simultaneously on the development in an annual report?
Last but not least, cost and time saving considerations also played a role. The originally independent sustainability report was started immediately after the preparation of the annual Report. It was then usually published in June. This tied up capacity for further reporting.
Requirements for Integrated Reporting
In the course of the transition to an integrated annual report, all involved departments carried out a critical process analysis in regard to the preparation of annual financial statements. Sustainability indicators were thus integrated into the financial system. In addition, standardizes processes and increasing integrated process steps with Finance, Controlling and auditors were essential prerequisites for this conversion.
PALFINGER is one of the few companies in Europe that publishes its annual report at the beginning of February and that publishes an integrated report. This is a total lead-time of 4 months and includes a consolidation period for financial and non-financial, audited key figures of around 2 weeks in January – with more than fully 90 consolidated entities.
At this point, we would also like to thank the entire project team and involved reporters. The final product – the integrated annual report – was a smooth and professional handling.
Reporting becomes mandatory – who is in the safe harbor?
Growing market regulations in recent years show the increasing pressure on companies to deal with sustainability topics. Be it through REACh, the Energy Efficiency Act, CO2 price fixing, the EU data protection directive or the Austrian Sustainability and Diversity Improvement Act.
New legal reporting requirements within the EU, known in Austria under the Sustainability and Diversity Improvement Act, obligates listed companies to disclose sustainability information since 2017. PALFINGER is also affected by this law, but can face the requirements calmly due to its many years of experience. The safe harbor only locates those companies, which conform to the new GRI standard and are thus compliant with the Sustainability and Diversity Improvement Act. The decision to maintain GRI as the reporting standard since 2005 was therefore a golden choice and was confirmed once again.