Allied Electronics Corporation Limited (Altron) was one of the first JSE listed companies to embrace integrated reporting when it became mandatory in 2010. In recent years Altron, has gone much further, far beyond the basic requirements of integrated reporting and has been hailed as one of the leaders in this field by various South African companies and numerous institutions. As a result, Altron has won two significant awards for its latest annual report. The launch of the Consultation Draft of the International Framework and subsequently the release of the final framework on the 9th of December 2013 by The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) as well as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 guidelines early this year, resulted in a turning point to extensive re-evaluation within Altron.In our view the release of the new Integrated Reporting Framework was an important step towards a better business reporting framework that is built around the strategy and business model of an organisation, says Jannette Horn, Altron Group Sustainability Manager and project manager of Altrons Integrated Report. As frameworks to Integrated Reporting evolve, companies are expected to adapt their approach, increase their transparency and refine their reportable data.Altrons first award was the Best Annual Report Award in the Mid Cap category at the 46th Chartered Secretaries (CSSA)/JSE Annual Report Awards, which took place at Monte Casino in Johannesburg in November 2013. These highly regarded awards are the longest-standing annual report awards in the country and have recognised excellence in corporate reporting since 1956. The awards are a great platform for companies to showcase their integrated annual reporting skills and appraise their reports against international best practice.Horn says the face of corporate reporting has significantly changed in the last few years and integrated reporting has become the norm within large listed companies around the world. South Africa is seen as a world leader in integrated reporting.Altron won its second award from The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) South Africafor Best Sustainability Reporting in the Non-resources category for 2012/13. These awards are intended to encourage the production of robust sustainability reports that are easy to use, and to facilitate active participation in the development of reporting expertise.Something that distinguished Altrons integrated annual report from its peers was that its strategy and objectives were successfully set out and easy to grasp. This was achieved by the robust and comprehensive identification of the groups material issuessomething that a lot of companies now have to get to grips with especially with the launch of the new framework. The strategy presented was specific and spoke to actual issues, which, for a group as diverse as Altron, was no mean feat. Some of the judges feedback was that it made astute use of graphics to enable the reader to easily navigate the report. In addition, the disclosure around materiality and how Altron classified its material issues between the short, medium and long term and then linked them back to strategic objectives was praised.Over the years, the annual report as we used to know it, has evolved from purely a number crunching document to somewhat of a marketing and strategy document, taking the reader through an in-depth journey of what matters to the company, what it has achieved and where it is going. This requires companies to take stock of its effect on economies, people and the environment in order to be sustainably profitable.Altrons integrated annual report was designed and produced by Ince on Altrons own NOR Paper. It was written with the help of Juliet Pitman of Myriad.
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