Last Tuesday was a big night for Clorox. At Corporate Secretary magazine’s 2012 Corporate Governance Awards in New York City, the company was named the winner of “most innovative CSR disclosure policy” for our work in corporate responsibility (CR) reporting. Specifically, we were recognized for our 2011 annual report, “Think Outside the Bottle,” (bleach bottle pun intended), which marked our move toward integrated reporting.
Integrated reporting is an emerging trend that calls for companies to demonstrate the strategic link between financial, environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. We’ve decided to move in this direction because ESG performance is fundamental to our business. It’s an essential component of the “how” behind our long-term value creation, and we believe our reporting should reflect that.
I think this award is especially meaningful for us for two reasons. First, it’s a great start to 2013, which also happens to be our 100th year anniversary. Second, it’s gratifying to think how far we’ve come in sustainability reporting in just a short time. I still remember the comments about Clorox “green washing” when we launched the Green Works® brand back in 2008. At the time, we hadn’t issued a sustainability report so people made assumptions about our environmental record and about the safety profiles of our products, among other things. We quickly learned the importance of becoming more transparent about our ESG performance.
We issued our first sustainability report in 2010, using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines for an added measure of credibility. We’ve learned a lot about sustainability reporting from GRI and our involvement with them as a U.S. Sector Leader. We also recently joined the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) so that we can contribute to how integrated reporting standards are developing.
Today, a number of people from our Finance, Legal, Eco Office and Corporate Communications teams are working together on Clorox’s integrated reporting strategy and plans for external assurance of nonfinancial metrics. We’re still in the early stages, but we’re excited about establishing our vision and approach to integrated reporting. No matter what that looks like, what’s most important to us is good communication. Our goal is that when stakeholders read our report, they get a holistic view of our company performance and feel confident about the short- and long-term prospects of our business. That would be an award, in and of itself.