Wednesday Jan 08, 2014

Trends of Sustainability Reporting Policies Worldwide

By Elena Avesani, Principal Product Strategy Manager, Oracle

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) recently released the third edition of the Carrots & Sticks publication, which analyzes the growing number of national and international reporting policies from around the world. In the seven years of the series, the amount of policy and regulation has markedly increased. This includes a notable increase in the number of mandatory reporting measures. In 2006, 58 percent of policies were mandatory; now, more than two thirds (72 percent) of the 180 policies in the 45 reviewed countries are mandatory. All policies and guidance included in this publication are either governmental or market regulatory requirements and voluntary initiatives for the public disclosure of sustainability information; CSR initiatives requiring or providing guidance for sustainability reporting or other forms of public disclosure; or requirements or recommendations covering a single topic (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions) or sector (e.g., mining), provided the disclosure has to be public.

The analysis shows an increasing emphasis on a combination of complementary voluntary and mandatory approaches to organizational disclosure. The gradual integration of organizational performance data is on the rise, with attempts to combine corporate governance, financial and sustainability reporting. Their research shows the highest number of reporters per country is in the USA, followed by Japan, South Africa, China, Brazil, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Korea, and a number of other EU Member States.

Going forward, it is likely that more governments will issue sustainability reporting policies. Report readerships will grow, and the discussion of sustainability data – including around its credibility – will continue to increase. This enhanced participation of report users will occur partly due to improvements in the user-friendliness of sustainability reports, utilizing XBRL and other reporting innovations. Reports will increasingly focus on sustainability issues that are material for stakeholders and investors, thereby providing the most accurate and relevant view of organizations’ sustainability performance and impacts.

Oracle Environmental Accounting and Reporting supports these needs and provides consistency across organizations in how data is collected, retained, controlled, consolidated and used in calculating and reporting emissions inventory. EA&R also enables companies to develop an enterprise-wide data view that includes all five of the key sustainability categories: carbon emissions, energy, water, materials and waste. The report is available for download on the GRI website.


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