The First Integrated Annual Report

6 Feb 2013

Integrated reporting is a topic that highly interests corporations worldwide. The reporting sector is still at its infancy though, as environmental effects are usually only expressed in terms of tons of carbon emitted or kilos of waste produced, rather than in monetary terms.

Few people know that, in 1990, the first truly integrated annual report was published by BSO/Origin, a Dutch IT company founded by the late Eckart Wintzen. His report included the environmental costs caused by the company.

The value of nature

According to Wintzen, there is a missing link between ecology and economy if external environmental costs are not integrated in the valuation of businesses. Without these costs, a profit and loss account shows only one side of the coin.

The BSO/Origin Annual Report 1990 offered a rough calculation of the value lost in terms of atmospheric emissions and waste. It was intended to boost the discussion, as Wintzen was well aware that his calculations were rudimentary.

Value Extracted Tax

Wintzen was convinced that environmental reporting is one of the first steps towards sustainable growth. It would provide the basis for a tax system that puts taxes on the use of natural resources (extracted value) instead of labour (adding value). Wintzen called this system change Value Extracted Tax, in short: Ex'tax.

"If consistently and broadly applied, ecological bookkeeping combined with proper taxation can within a few decades generate the new market mechanisms necessary for sustainable growth, a growth that ensures freedom of entrepreneurship without depleting the planet's resources."
- Eckart Wintzen

Puma's impact valued at € 145 million

More than 20 years later, there are some hopeful developments. In 2011, together with PwC and Trucost, PUMA created a methodology to measure the true costs of its impacts on nature. The PUMA 2010 Annual Accounts contain detailed information on the impact of their operations. In a side-letter, PUMA announced that this impact should theoretically be valued at € 145 million. This approach has rightfully attracted the attention of the global business community.

 

>Wintzen's article Re-engineering the Planet: Three Steps to a Sustainable Free Market Economy [pdf 1.4 Mb]

> BSO/Origin 1990 Annual Report [pdf 17 Mb]

> More about Ex'tax