With more than 300 participants, most of them on site and via livestream, the 13th Annual Reports Symposium 2022, which took place on June 13, set a new attendance record.
The guiding theme for 2022 was "Show Value, Build Trust. How can companies create value in the face of ever more diverse requirements and upheavals such as digitization, climate change, and constantly new regulatory requirements? - Today and in the future. And how do they gain the trust of stakeholders and retain their loyalty in the long term?
The opening speech by Prof. David Bach, IMD Lausanne, at the VIP lunch already generated lively discussions with plenty of fuel. In his keynote address "CEO's in the political crossfire", he addressed what stakeholders expect from the top of a company today: CEOs should take a stand on controversial social and political issues and show that they live their values when circumstances demand it. He also shed light on the risks involved and the need for such communication to happen quickly in order to appear authentic and thus credible.
Afterwards, the opening presentation by Hilti CEO Dr. Christoph Loos continued seamlessly in the large hall of the GDI. The plenum of experts from Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, Finance, Sustainability and Governance heard first-hand why the globally positioned family-owned company Hilti incorporated sustainability issues into its DNA at a very early stage and how it deals with them. Christoph Loos emphasized that the relevance of the measures must be in the foreground. For him, there can also be no successful reporting without consistent integration and uncompromising implementation of the programs of measures. Among other things, Hilti wants to achieve CO2 neutrality by 2023 and become a leader in the circular economy with innovative concepts in its industry
In her keynote address, which she noted was her last as CEO of BKW, the new Chairwoman of Sulzer, Dr. Suzanne Thoma, reported on how BKW has evolved over the past ten years or so from a company weakened by structural change into a strong player in the Swiss electricity industry. She went into detail on how stakeholder confidence was regained by focusing on value-driving business areas.
Best Practice Sessions
In 2022, the five best practice sessions on practice-oriented topics again formed the core of the Annual Reports Symposium. Renowned experts from leading international companies such as ABN AMRO, BASF, Coca-Cola, HBC, KPMG, Partners Group, Poste Italiane, Royal Schiphol Group, Swiss Life and Value Reporting Foundation provided practical insights into current developments and trends in corporate reporting. How can a business model be communicated convincingly in terms of content and visuals? How can the increasing requirements for non-financial reporting be implemented efficiently and with benefits for long-term corporate positioning? What is needed for ESG information to gain and sustain investor confidence?
Topic Sustainability Reporting
In the second part of the plenary session, Janine Guillot, CEO Value Reporting Foundation (VRF), joined live from New York to give an overview of key sustainability reporting initiatives including the development of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and opportunities for companies to help shape the new ISSB standards. At the CFO Panel, Manuela Suter, CFO Bucher Industries, and Yves Gerster, CFO Dufry, took the plenary into the world of financial corporate governance. In particular, they addressed their insights from the two pandemic years and the evolution of the CFO function into a preserver:in corporate values and how they are mastering the increasing demands.
The humorous finale was the performance of cabaret artist Gabriel Vetter. As CEO, CFO, Chief Facility Services and Head of Corporate Communication as well as Management Director of Catering at "Fun, Fun, Fun & Sons," he described, among other things, how difficult it is for him as a one-man company to achieve a 50 percent quota of women.