Sustainability reporting is becoming status quo for many large organisations, although relatively new to many and yet to be adopted by smaller organisations. It is more than a ‘nice to have’ activity. In fact, the European Union in 2014, put forward a directive that all companies with more than 500 Employees must carry out sustainability reporting. But It is not only policy that is driving sustainability reporting, it is also the customers who are demanding more transparency from companies.

With several companies diving into the sphere of sustainability reporting with little or no in-depth prior experience, how do we ensure that there is some level of coherence in what companies are reporting? Also, how do we make sure that companies are reporting absolutely relevant information and not some ‘nice story’ which they think would appeal to their stakeholders and the public?

Realising this Gap, the Global Reporting Initiative was founded in 1997. For the next three years after it was founded, the initiative focused on building a ‘guideline’ which was finally launched in 2000. The aim of the organisation is to help businesses and governments worldwide  understand and communicate on critical sustainability issues they are addressing.

The guidelines of the GRI covers 3 universal standards that apply to all organisations and 33 other standards that cover Environmental,Economic and Social reporting.


The Environmental standards cover aspect of water, energy, biodiversity, emissions, waste, etc.

The Economic standards cover aspects of market presence, economic performance, procurement practices, anti corruption, etc.

The social standards cover aspect of child labour, employment, non discrimination, marketing and labelling, customer health and safety, etc.

If you are a company looking to use some of the GRI standards, you can read more about them here 

Is sustainability reporting here to stay?

According to the KPMG survey of corporate responsibility reporting 2017, 93% of the world’s largest 250 corporations already report on their sustainability performance. Smaller companies are getting in the sphere as well, understanding that consumers and clients are more interested now in the corporate responsibility of the companies they do business with. Sustainability reporting is now a law in EU countries, this is a ball set in motion picking up fast inertia around the world.

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