New figures released recently show that the number of companies and other organizations publicly disclosing their performance against a range of key sustainability indicators has risen markedly over the last year. The Global Reporting Initiative is now tracking of over 1000 organizations worldwide who issued sustainability reports based on the GRI G3 Guidelines in 2008 – the highest number ever recorded. The figure represents an increase of 46 per cent on the 2007 figure of 685.
Of the sustainability reports that GRI is aware of, more are produced in Spain than any other country, beating the United States into second place. Europe is home to 49% of the reporters known to GRI, followed by Asia on 15%, North America on 14%, Latin America on 12%, with 6% from Oceania and 4% from Africa.
The GRI G3 Guidelines set out the principles and indicators that organizations can use to measure and report their economic, environmental, and social performance. The guidance was developed, and continues to evolve, through a process in which representatives from businesses, civil society, finance, labor, academia and others seek consensus on a common framework for reporting on issues of common concern – such as greenhouse gas emissions, labor standards and human rights.
The Top Ten Countries Are:
1. Spain 128
2. USA 100
3. Brazil 64
4 = Australia 56
4 = UK 56
6. Japan 49
7 = Germany 41
7 = South Africa 41
9. Italy 38
10. Canada 36
Furthermore, many companies listed in the world’s leading stock markets now issue GRI-based sustainability reports including 64% of Germany’s DAX 30, 48% of France’s CAC 40, 22% of the UK’s FTSE 100 and 13% of the US’ S&P 500. However, with the exception of Germany’s relatively small DAX (30 companies), companies in the major stock market indices reporting on their sustainability performance using the common framework provided by GRI are still in the minority
“If sustainability data was just something that was ‘nice to know’ about a company – providing niche investors with data for short-term investment decisions or helping employees feel good about their company – then this wouldn’t be so much of a problem, said GRI Chief Executive Ernst Ligteringen. However this information is more important than that. As we face a sustainability crisis that could ultimately even threaten our very existence as a species, we need to know how our companies are positioned to rise to the challenges, provide solutions and adapt to coming changes,”
“Thus public access to organizations’ economic, environmental and social performance is necessary if we are to inform ourselves of the effects of the choices we make in the purchase of products and services and the effects of the business models we adopt,“ added Ligteringen.
In order to further increase the quantity and quality of organizational sustainability disclosure, the Board of Directors of the Global Reporting Initiative this year issued the Amsterdam Declaration on Transparency and Reporting in which they called on governments to introduce policy requiring companies to either report on their sustainability performance or explain why they won’t.
Click here to see the full GRI Online Reporters Database
© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.