Danone: Adopting Integrated Reporting or Not? (A)
(9 pages of text)
Danone SA (Danone), a multinational food company based in Paris, had a history of social and environmental consciousness and a corporate strategy that focused on economic and social objectives. In 2013, the company was trying to ensure that this social and environmental focus was part of its decision-making process, and wanted to communicate its industry-leading efforts to internal and external stakeholders alike. The company had learned that it was not enough just to have internal systems and data prove its environmental consciousness. The company’s carbon accounting initiative, for example, demonstrated the firm’s progress in reducing its carbon footprint; however, because it did not make use of widely accepted carbon accounting standards, Danone’s sustainability efforts were largely discounted or ignored. Now the company had to decide how to report to its various stakeholders going forward.
The A case focuses on Danone’s reporting activity in 2013, when it worked with the International Integrated Reporting Council to pilot that organization’s integrated reporting standard. The B case brings the situation forward to 2018 and discusses Danone’s work to launch its own integrated report, its efforts to become certified as a B Corporation, and its support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
This case can be used in an undergraduate or graduate level course on social and environmental accounting, integrated reporting, sustainability accounting, sustainability management, corporate social responsibility, non-financial regulation, or accounting. It introduces the challenges of choosing and using a reporting system, explains integrated reporting, and introduces key players and standards in sustainability reporting. Following the discussion of the case, students will have developed their ability to do the following:
- Identify and explain the issues related to choosing and implementing a non-financial reporting standard.
- Describe the interrelationship between corporate culture and non-financial reporting.
- Review the benefits and drawbacks of various reporting standards.
- Identify internal and external stakeholders, and articulate their interests and incentives.
- Choose and develop non-financial key performance indicators.
France, Large, 2013
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