The World’s first Diploma in Integrated Reporting

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University of Pretoria

Last month I was fortunate to visit the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership at the University of Pretoria to speak with staff and PhD students researching various issues in integrated reporting at the invitation of its Director Prof Derick de Jongh. Integrated reporting has been mandatory for companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange since the introduction of the King III Code in 2010 so it was also an opportunity for me to do some research of my own talking to JSE listed company Board Chairs about ESG risks and the role of reporting in their governance.  Integrated reporting is also now mandatory for universities and I had the pleasure of speaking with Prof Carolina Koornhof about the University’s approach to it.

One of the highlights of the trip was finding out about the innovative approaches to teaching on the Centre’s Diploma in Integrated Reporting which has had a disruptive impact on its students.  I spoke about it with Pieter Conradie  the programme director.

What motivated you to set up the Diploma in Integrated Reporting?

University of Pretoria

University of Pretoria

The idea for the Diploma originated from the fact that King III mandates integrated reporting in South Africa. We realised that existing academic programmes do not cater for integrated reporting specifically and that the market will experience a growing need for these skills. We are acutely aware of the importance of greater accountability within the South African corporate environment, and that integrated reporting had a potential role to play.

Our motivation to embark on the journey to host the diploma in integrated reporting is very closely linked to our views on advancing the debate on accountability and responsibility. This ties in very closely with the mission of the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership.

Why is it housed in the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership?

The director of the Centre, Prof Derick de Jongh, was on a working group of the King Committee during the development of King III.  In his time in academia, Derick has established a number of academic programs with the explicit intent of advancing the debate on corporate accountability and responsible leadership. He sensed an opportunity to espouse his understanding of responsible leadership through the way that organisations report on their impacts on society and the environment.

This approach undoubtedly impacts the way we think about and teach integrated reporting with a broad inclusive approach rather than shareholder focus.

 What are the key highlights of the course for students?

University of Pretoria

University of Pretoria

We have always believed that the critical approach that we follow in the way that we teach integrated reporting has enabled students to develop a nuanced and realistic understanding of the challenges facing the world and the role that reporting can play in addressing these challenges. This critical approach has also enabled lively classroom debates on the potential of integrated reporting to be a force for change. Many of the students expressed their concern that they were not made aware of the global challenges during their undergraduate studies.

More about my visit here

 

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