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Framework for Social Reporting

Allen White, Acting Chief Executive, Global Reporting Initiative

(Mr. White's comments are in response to Mr. Montagnon's editorial. Both comments appeared in the Financial Times.)

Sir, The Association of British Insurers' premise ("Companies need to get a social life", FTfm, April 22) is compelling: social risks that corporations impose on society are by and large the same risks that undermine company financial performance.

This shared interest underpins the case for public disclosure. Those who support such disclosure often disagree on whether a voluntary approach as suggested by the ABI or a mandatory scheme as specified in new French legislation is preferable.

In either case, one key question looms large: who should determine the information that should be disclosed? Business itself? Investors? Advocacy groups? Consumers? Trade unions? Though all have somewhat different information needs, ample opportunity exists to find common ground as a basis for a generally accepted, credible reporting framework that meets the needs of diverse user groups for social information.

Financial reporting has achieved such a common framework. Why should we expect less of social reporting?

Global Reporting Initiative


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