Sustainability reporting is becoming more focused, but continues to be a work in progress. It has been a big year-and-a-bit for sustainability reporting


It has been a big year-and-a-bit for sustainability reporting. In May 2013, the international go-to sustainability standard, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), published its G4 update. Since then, the GRI's Sustainability Disclosure Database has registered more than 200 reports prepared to the G4 standard.

In December 2013, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) published its framework – a guide to help companies incorporate non-financial information into their annual reports. Integrated reporting is seen as the logical complement to the GRI G4, with the latter providing the material sustainability information that will feed into the former (see box).

Meanwhile, other major sustainability reporting initiatives have not been sitting on their hands. In 2013, the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) marked the tenth year of its questionnaire that is designed to support investment decisions by eliciting greenhouse gas footprint information from companies. A mere 235 companies responded to the questionnaire back in 2003. Now more than 4,000 do, including 81% of the world's 500 largest public companies.

In the US, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), which aims to help US-listed companies fulfil their materiality obligations, has been busy publishing new standards – by May it had covered 19 sub-sectors within the financial...

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