Understanding Reporting 3.0 — A Q&A Session with Reporting 3.0 Managing Director Ralph Thurm and Senior Director Bill Baue

Ralph and Bill while being interviewed for the recent 5th International Reporting 3.0 Conference video.

Q: How does Reporting 3.0 operate — in a nutshell?

A: Reporting 3.0 is a strange animal. We’re a new breed of not-for-profit that’s tapping into a collective consciousness mindset to counter the prevailing competitive advantage approach, which pervades even the non-profit sector. We are seeding a new approach that is ‘pre-competitive,’ meaning that we carve out the spaces that needs collaborative impact, and ‘market-making’, meaning that we explicitly nurture market opportunities for sustainable practices (that are often “punished” or perceived as “costs” in status quo thinking.) We act as an open-source Research & Development function for the broad field of reporting and disclosure, with a specific commitment to identifying necessary changes for spurring the emergence of a Green, Inclusive and Open Economy.

Q: Who do you work with or want to work with?

A: We work with Positive Mavericks — those who recognize the need for transforming existing systems, including our economic design, from degenerative to regenerative structures.

Our Blueprints also provide a lens for our engagement:

  • The Reporting Blueprint targets reporting standard setters and corporate reporters, encouraging them to align reporting frameworks and practices to North Star / Southern Cross imperatives (such as the carbon budget, living wages, or gender equity) to trigger the emergence of the Green, Inclusive and Open Economy agreed to at the Rio+20 Summit in 2012.
  • The Accounting Blueprint provides accounting standard setters and accountants a new model that integrates financial, management, and sustainability accounting, with hands-on tools including multi-capital balance sheets, incomes statements, and statements of future risk and value.
  • The Data Blueprint shows data providers how to seamlessly link the micro (organisational), meso (industry, habitat, portfolio) and macro (economic, ecological and social system) levels in order to anchor information in real world contexts.
  • The New Business Models Blueprint supports startup entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in established enterprises to adopt Integral Business Models that flourish through regenerative impacts on ecological, social, and economic systems — while generating prosperity for the enterprise.

Q: What have you achieved so far?

A: Our first half decade was focused on “blueprinting” through a collaborative process convening working groups of 20–40 subject matter experts to vet strong Recommendations for next-generation, future-ready practices that can be pulled “off the shelf” readily by standard setters, corporations, investors, NGOs, governments, multilateral organisations and foundations (the latter three have a role to play in boosting these Recommendations).

We are now shifting into implementation mode, engaging with practitioners to pilot and then scale-up these practices.

Q: How do companies, organisations, partners, individuals use the tool set?

A: This is where our Transformation Journey Program (TJP) comes in. It is based on the Transformation Journey Blueprint — our fifth Blueprint, where we distilled and synthesized all Recommendations from the earlier four Blueprints and translated them into a step-by-step approach that enables organisational thriving (at the micro level) with system value creation (at the meso and macro levels).

We built the TJP out in two ways:

  • First as a a Global Academy, now piloted in Rotterdam as the Erasmus Transformation Academy‘ starting in October 2018. Anyone can attend.
  • Secondly, we are rolling out TJP Workshop Series focused on specific themes / industries. This first wave of Workshops will focus on Sustainable Finance, to tee up a second round of Blueprints, including a Sustainable Finance Blueprint.

Q: What does the Transformation Journey Program contain?

A: All programs are organised in 4 ‚stages‘, simulating a mountain climb. From the Basecamp (mapping the landscape of challenges) to Planning the Route (preparing the pathway, section-by-section) to actually making The Climb (implementing needed transformations), and finally reaching The Mountain Top (assessing achievements and shepherding others to make the same climb).

Q: Where and when are the first Journeys taking place?

A: These journeys take place in Amsterdam (hosted by ING), Boston (hosted by John Hancock / Manulife), and Toronto (hosted by McMaster University), starting in November 2018. All dates and registration options are available on the Transformation Journey Landing Page.

Our Advocation Partners — creating scalability through joint engagement

Q: How do you work with Partners to deliver the TJP?

A: As a small non-profit seeking to transform our global economy, we recognize the value of partnering to scale our impact. Accordingly, we created the Advocation Partners Program and Academic Alliance Program to enable aligned individuals and organizations to seed Reporting 3.0 Recommendations and Research. Importantly, all our partners see mutual benefit in collaboration, as their work is strengthened by the reinforcing network effects. We have a rich diversity and expertise in our network of more than 6,000 Positive Mavericks, amongst them many consultancies from the sustainability, IT, leadership and HR field. The common denominator that motivates them to participate? They want their work to provide systemic solutions, transcending mere meeting of client demand.

Here’s where the ‘market-making’ element kicks in. Advocation Partners go through the Transformation Journey themselves to become Positive Maverick sherpas, supporting their clients to focus on transformative progress as a means of scaling up positive change. We acknowledge the challenge of pioneering new paths, but see no alternative as global ecological and social systems teeter on the verge of collapse.

Academic Alliance Partners support case studies, work together on research questions that Reporting 3.0 defines and sort out how their curricula can benefit from the collective consciousness derving from the Reporting 3.0 work ecosystem.

Q: Is Reporting 3.0 evolutionary? How do you expect it to change in the future?

A: The Blueprints are not static documents, cast in stone; insteady, they are living documents that will be refined as the Recommendations are piloted and scaled. In addition, new Blueprints in areas that are deemed necessary will be developed.

Reporting 3.0 just announced three new Blueprint development projects: a Sustainable Finance Blueprint, a Value Cycles Blueprint (combining supply and demand chain areas on micro and meso level with circularity on the macro level), and finally a Governments / Multilaterals / Foundations Blueprint (with a focus on the special roles they have in a Green, Inclusive and Open Economy).

Furthermore so-called Test Labs on cross-cutting areas like Digitisation, Governance, Risk, Fiduciary Duty etc. will discuss their impact on the family of existing Blueprints.

And last but not least, Reporting 3.0 is incubating a Global Threshold & Allocations Council as a global governance body to vet, research, disseminate, and adjudicate on organizational adherence to ecological ceilings (or planetary boundaries) and social foundations.

Specific projects round up the whole portfolio of Reporting 3.0. The below visualisation pulls all programmatic areas into one graphic.

The portfolio of Reporting 3.0 activities 2019–2021