Sustainability reporting

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A sustainability report is an organizational report that gives information about economic, environmental, social and governance performance.[1]

Sustainability reporting [2] is not just report generation from collected data; instead it is a method to internalize and improve an organization’s commitment to sustainable development in a way that can be demonstrated to both internal and external stakeholders.

Organizations must ensure a robust system for sustainability management[3] and reporting with regard to:

  • Transparency
  • Traceability
  • Compliance


Corporate sustainability reporting has a long history going back to environmental reporting. The first environmental reports were published in the late 1980s by companies in the chemical industry which had serious image problems. The other group of early reporters was a group of committed small and medium-sized businesses with very advanced environmental management systems.

Non-financial reporting, such as sustainability and CSR reporting, is a fairly recent trend which has expanded over the last twenty years. Many companies now produce an annual sustainability report and there are a wide array of ratings and standards around. There are a variety of reasons that companies choose to produce these reports, but at their core they are intended to be "vessels of transparency and accountability". Often they also intended to improve internal processes, engage stakeholders and persuade investors.[4]

Organizations can improve their sustainability performance by measuring, monitoring and reporting on it, helping them have a positive impact on society, the economy, and a sustainable future. The key drivers for the quality of sustainability reports are the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI),[5] (ACCA) award schemes or rankings. The GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines enable all organizations worldwide to assess their sustainability performance and disclose the results in a similar way to financial reporting.[6] The largest database of corporate sustainability reports can be found on the website of the United Nations Global Compact initiative.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Herzig, C.; Schaltegger, S.: Corporate Sustainability Reporting. An Overview, in: Schaltegger, S.; Bennett, M. & Burritt, R. (Eds.) (2006): Sustainability Accounting and Reporting. Dordrecht: Springer, 2006, 301-324

External links[edit]