Companies seek ways to report diversity progress – Journal of Accountancy

Companies seek ways to report diversity progress – Journal of Accountancy

Demonstrations focused on racial equity and justice — as well as inequities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic downturn — are putting new pressure on businesses to address these issues and to disclose their progress in their corporate social responsibility reports.

“The conversation has picked up exponentially in the past eight months,” said Maura Hodge, CPA, KPMG’s lead U.S. partner for ESG assurance. “Having worked with [environmental, social, and governance reporting] for 10 years, the number of conversations I’ve had this year has been amazing.”

Like many companies, enterprise software maker SAP, which ranked No. 1 on Forbes’ America’s Best Employers for Diversity 2020 List, issued a statement last summer that pledged “to speak up, connect with the experiences of its Black colleagues and other people of color, reaffirm its commitment to diversity and inclusion,” and increase investments in a variety of social justice organizations and efforts.

SAP has a long-standing commitment to diversity, spokeswoman Bettina Wunderle said. In its annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports it has listed diversity and inclusion (D&I) indicators for gender inequality, but it’s considering expanding those disclosures for its 2020 report.

“We are currently examining whether we will include aspects of social justice/ethnicity in the Integrated Report 2020,” Wunderle said in an email.

Higher profile

KPMG and SAP aren’t the only organizations considering changes in their ESG reporting. The pandemic and this year’s social unrest and economic turmoil have raised the profile of CSR activities.

“There’s certainly more attention being paid to things