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22 Jul 2011

The Growth of reporting standards around sustainability

Posted in Fresh Thinking

The Global Reporting Initiative – a reporting framework which provides an "accounting" standard against which sustainability disclosure can be made – is growing quickly. More than 2000 companies worldwide this year produced their sustainability reports to the GRI standard. Mostly this is non UK, with Spain, Switzerland and Scandinavia being the quickest to adopt. Some EU regulators are now beginning to mandate this standard.

GRI – supported by the OECD – is pressing for rules that apply their standards across the EU on a "Report or Explain" basis. This initiative parallels the growth in responsible investment – both as a stand- alone strategy, and as part of the standard screening performed by institutional investors.

Another aspect to this, similarly to the brand valuation above, is the extent to which sustainability can be built into the wider corporate reporting. As we have discussed previously in our Fresh Thinking reports, integrated reporting is high on the agenda of those responsible for corporate reporting. The challenge remains how to create a report which tells the (relevant) sustainability story as it relates to the company’s strategy and business model, without 'clutter'.