Communicating integrated thinking category
Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company headquartered in Denmark. Its long-term commitment to behave in a financially, environmentally and socially responsible way led to its use of an integrated report to communicate its integrated thinking.
The communication sends a strong message to shareholders and potential investors and enhances their decision making, while also leading to better-informed decisions internally. It brings information about financial, environmental and social performance together, reflecting the company’s triple bottom line.
The integrated annual report is the backbone for communication to investors, enabling them to make 360° assessments of performance. The project was driven by a close collaboration between the finance and sustainability functions. The rigour and discipline of financial data was emulated with social and environmental data, while the presentation of sustainability performance with contextual information inspired the format for the financial statements. The emphasis on the triple bottom line allows the company to grow both profitably and responsibly. Publishing Blueprint For Change reports emphasises the company’s belief that communicating integrated thinking reflects how they do business. People get a better idea about the character of the company and how decisions are made.
The world of reporting has long been dominated by a focus on the financials, particularly true when Novo Nordisk first started to develop its integrated reporting approach. Standards for non-financial, environmental or social reporting are less generally accepted than financial reporting standards and what there is does not lend itself easily to integration into an annual report. And there is a challenge in how to measure and account for performance on the six capitals of the International Integrated Reporting Framework and how to fully reflect connectivity across different issues and areas of performance.
Novo Nordisk has told a highly impressive story of integration across the business through its comprehensive suite of communications. It is clear that, both internally and externally, non-financial data is going through the same rigour as financial data.