Sustainability Strategy and Integrated Reporting Export Development Canada
Through the provision of strategic consulting and guidance on materiality, Works Design became EDC’s reporting partner in 2015. Our team has since led EDC’s materiality assessment (endorsed by EDC’s SVP of Corporate Strategy) and successfully transitioned EDC to an integrated reporting model in 2018. In addition to providing consulting services, we continue to write, design and produce each annual report.
EDC is very transparency focused, so when conducting the materiality assessment it was important to cast a broad engagement net to develop its priority topics. EDC supports Canadian direct investment abroad, and much of its business is done in partnership with other financial institutions and through collaboration with the Government of Canada – and as a result we engaged with well over 100 stakeholders around the world.
At a half-day workshop session, Works Design presented proposed material topics, and discussed the findings from our research and interviews in breakout sessions. The session allowed participants to gain a strong understanding of the CSR efforts underway across EDC’s business structure. It illuminated an all-too-common challenge: when it came to CSR, there was an opportunity to better inform clients, overseas representatives and EDC’s own people. Together, we considered specific ways EDC could bridge communication gaps, better connect to its mission, and position the company as a leader among export sector peers. A final report was drafted that presented EDC’s updated priorities and related metrics. It offered guidance on the specific GRI topics, content and disclosures that EDC would report to in its upcoming report.
EDC’s reporting is complex in nature, and at times includes many moving, overlapping parts. The 2017 report in particular needed to incorporate insights from an ongoing materiality assessment. These insights were supplemented with additional interviews with a range of subject matter experts, and informed the report content. At this time, Works Design was also responsible for the development of a robust microsite with many custom features. Taking the time to map out the entire process (and all of its interdependencies) was the only way to accomplish our goals.
In early 2019, EDC challenged us to apply the outcomes of our materiality assessment, and develop its first integrated annual report (covering both financial and non-financial priorities and performance). This required a complete reimagining of the report structure, and pushed our team to develop new content, within a framework that would appeal to a wider range of audiences. We sought stories and proof points that articulated EDC’s long-term financial sustainability (historically, but also how it would be achieved moving forward), while also demonstrating how financial and non-financial measures are considered when assessing EDC’s overall performance.
Go, grow, succeed
The 2018 integrated report reflects EDC’s position as a leader who is effectively leveraging the principles of CSR. Thematically, the report presents a truly enduring institution that will support Canadian companies as they “go,” “grow” and “succeed” internationally, over the long term. In addition to achieving integration, there were great strides in overall disclosure. We included many leading-edge components like an ESG Performance Scorecard and a statement of support for the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.