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New EY thought leadership series examines 2014 sustainability trends

Conflict minerals reporting deadlines, the transition to G4 reporting, supply chain risk and ESG reporting requirements and the World Federation of Exchanges top the list

NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As companies begin their 2014 sustainability planning, EY is identifying top sustainability issues for the year in Let's talk: sustainability, a new quarterly publication that focuses on top sustainability concerns. The first edition highlights regulatory and sustainability business trends such as the forthcoming conflict minerals reporting deadlines, the transition to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 reporting, reducing supply chain risk and the evolution of the World Federation of Exchanges' view on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosure.

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"This year we'll see some big changes in the sustainability reporting landscape, particularly as companies begin to disclose their conflict minerals sourcing and begin to transition to the new G4 iteration of the Global Reporting Initiative reporting framework," said Steve Starbuck Americas Leader, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, for the global Ernst & Young organization. "It's important for companies to stay ahead of these disclosure and reporting changes, while keeping a pulse on investor expectations, so they can adequately address risk and ensure compliance with the new rules."

Below are the top sustainability trends EY's Climate Change and Sustainability Services group have identified for companies in 2014:

  • Meeting Dodd-Frank Act Section 1502's approaching deadline: the first filing deadline to comply with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission's (SEC) conflict minerals disclosure requirements covering calendar year 2013 is June 2, 2014. Per the legislation, companies must investigate their supply chains for conflict minerals and report on their source of origin.
  • Managing the transition to G4 reporting: leading sustainability reporting organizations are seeking to provide clarity and guidance on what's material in non-financial reporting. Conducting a non-financial materiality assessment this year can provide a company and its stakeholders with valuable intelligence to better measure, manage and assess the business in the short- and long-term. Additionally, this exercise is critical to laying a proper foundation for future reporting, particularly in light of the GRI G4 sustainability reporting guidelines.
  • Reducing supply chain risk by driving social compliance into the business: supply chain management is complex and in the spotlight after recent tragedies like those in Bangladesh. To avoid such catastrophes, companies should take steps in 2014 to drive social compliance into their business, such as mapping the supply chain, integrating social compliance into the procurement process and systemizing collaboration between social compliance and internal audit.
  • Understanding how environmental, social and governance disclosures impact companies listed on various stock exchanges: stock exchanges around the world – like NASDAQ, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange – are beginning to recommend their listed companies report on select environmental and social indicators, or explain why they do not. This trend is likely to spread since the NASDAQ OMX and New York Stock Exchange are participating in the Investor Network on Climate Risk Sustainable Stock Exchanges Working Group, which is currently collaborating on a standards proposal. Now is the time for companies to establish systems for capturing key ESG metrics and develop a process for measuring non-financial data before such guidance becomes mandatory for listed companies on main US exchanges.

The full report can be downloaded at www.ey.com/us/sustainability.

To continue the conversation, Join EY's sustainability leaders on January 16 at noon EST for the first of a new quarterly webcast series designed to give you a forum to talk directly to EY's Sustainability leaders about the trending topics in corporate sustainability. This quarter's discussion will focus on conflict minerals, the transition to G4 reporting, reducing risk in the consumer products supply chain and the World Federation of Exchanges.

About Ernst & Young's Climate Change and Sustainability Services

Climate change and sustainability continue to rise on the agendas of governments and organizations around the world with rapidly evolving drivers and expectations. Your business faces regulatory requirements and the need to meet stakeholder expectations as well as respond to the opportunities presented for revenue generation and cost reduction. This means a fundamental and complex transformation for many organizations and the embedding of climate change and sustainability into core business activities to achieve short term objectives and create long-term shareholder value. The industry and countries in which you operate as well as your extended business relationships introduce additional complexity, challenges, responsibilities and opportunities. Our global, multidisciplinary team combines our core experience in assurance, tax, transactions and advisory with climate change and sustainability skills and deep industry knowledge. You'll receive a tailored service supported by global methodologies to address issues relating to your specific needs. Wherever you are in the world, Ernst & Young can provide the right professionals to support you in achieving your potential. It's how we make a difference.

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a member of the global EY organization that provides services to clients in the US.

SOURCE Ernst & Young LLP

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