Your governance report has never mattered more

Richard Costa

Audiences are digging deeper into companies’ governance and sustainability. Does yours stand up to scrutiny?

Companies’ stewardship, accountability, and assurance become more significant during difficult and unpredictable times. The public has little economic optimism, employers are the only trusted institutions, and businesses are perceived as the most ones able to be competent and ethical.*

Society calls for organisations to have a strong purpose. Financial Reporting Council CEO Richard Moriarty highlighted in the organisation’s latest “In-Conversation” podcast how businesses are called upon to become part of the solution to improve the outlook, help create prosperity, and protect the planet and society. As we know, companies must go beyond just providing financial returns for shareholders to generate value for all stakeholders.

These expectations drive the regulatory changes reflecting the government’s “Restoring Trust in Audit and Corporate Governance” agenda. Policies and procedures must be strong, adaptable, and capable of handling any situation. Boards must consider financial and non-financial achievements and balance short-term gains with long-term progress.

This backdrop drives corporate governance reporting to evolve. Companies are investing more time and resources in providing insight into the quality and strategic nature of decision-making policies, practices, and processes. Governance reporting is becoming more comprehensive and analytical, akin to strategic reporting. This trend will continue to build trust, confidence, a positive reputation, and stakeholder loyalty. As stakeholders demand more meaningful information, governance reports must shift from compliance to communication to engagement.

Committee reports should address how the company collaborate with stakeholders to address common challenges and achieve shared goals. What are the long-term prospects of the company? Do they have a positive external impact? As E and S concerns have moved up the public agenda, the attention has shifted to the G, or how they are being addressed.

Clear objectives lead to a good communication strategy and successful engagement. Gather gains deeper insight and outcomes by exploring clients legitimacy, credibility, and achievements.

Legitimacy is how you play by the ‘rules of the game’, legal and social. We address your purpose, culture, values, the significance of your stakeholders and business ecosystem, stewardship, governance, and accountability.

Credibility is how you are fulfilling your governance commitments. We address your understanding of the market you operate in, how you turn adversity into opportunity, and how you create long-term stakeholder value.

Achievements on how are you tracking and reaching the desired goals. We address your performance, progress, and growth, how you balance short- and long-term achievements, and your impact, as opposed to plans and targets. If communication focuses on what to say and who to say it to, “engagement” shines in the feedback you seek. It’s down to what you want your audience to think or do after reading the report. Governance reports should have clear messaging and a logical, cohesive narrative; precise and concise content, graphical and written. Your corporate governance report has never mattered more. Evolve it strategically, address stakeholder demands for meaningful information, and focus on purpose, collaboration, and long-term progress.

* 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer. We keep up to date with institutions like FRC, Lab, ICAEW, advisory agencies like Edelman, Powerscourt, PwC, EY, KPMG, and Deloitte, and organisations like IR Society, Communicate, and Strategic Comms.

If you’d like to discuss this, or any other subject, please get in touch with Richard Costa, Senior Corporate Communications and Reporting Consultant at

We’d love to know what you think.


Richard Costa

Your governance report has never mattered more

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