Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Integrated Reporting Will Transform How OSH Is Managed

Center for Safety and Health Sustainability (CSHS) has issued a new report, “The Accounting Revolution and the New Sustainability: Implications for the Occupational Safety and Health Professional.” Designed to advise and educate OSH professionals about emerging trends in sustainability and financial accounting, the report presents a comprehensive analysis of current sustainability policies and practices as well as implications for OSH oversight and management.

Sustainability information helps business leaders identify opportunities for risk mitigation and value creation while helping investors and analysts understand factors that affect investment performance. With integrated reporting, which combines sustainability information with financial information, pushing greater corporate transparency, executives are becoming more attuned to improving performance in material sustainability issues, including non-financial areas such as OSH.

According to CSHS, this trend is transforming how OSH is viewed and managed by organizations, meaning that safety professionals can expect to see an expanded notion of “capitals” in reporting. Essentially, reporting will be extended beyond its traditional focus on financial and physical capital to include natural, intellectual, social and human capitals that are essential to organizational growth.

“By integrating OSH performance into effective sustainability reporting, business leaders and investors will have more interest in OSH as a foundational aspect of human capital,” says CSHS Board Chair Kathy A. Seabrook. “To capitalize on this, OSH professionals should play a leadership role in organizational activities such as horizon scanning, change management, enterprise risk management [and] supply chain management.” Seabrook adds that not recognizing the opportunities that sustainability presents will leave OSH practitioners "behind in reactive, compliance-focused roles."

ASSE will be developing educational materials and other communications around this topic in the coming year. Read the full report on the CSHS website.