Real Time Sustainability Reporting: A Future Trend?
3 June 2015 at 11:18 am
Sustainability reporting in real time rather than on an annual basis will shape the future of corporate reporting and disclosure, according to a new report by the provider of the world’s most widely-used sustainability reporting framework.
Sustainability and Reporting Trends in 2025: Preparing for the Future, by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), examines future trends in sustainability and corporate reporting and disclosure.
The analysis suggests that new data technology will lead to greater transparency, with sustainability reporting moving fully into the digital realm and occurring in real-time instead of annually.
It also predicts that increasingly empowered stakeholders will become more involved in governance and business strategy and have more access to data, which will require organisations to align real-time decision-making processes with their communication on issues such as climate change and human rights.
“Although the practice of measuring and reporting sustainability performance has increased dramatically over the last decade, more needs to be done,” GRI’s Chief Executive, Michael Meehan, said.
“We’ve made great progress, but we need to adapt and enable the market to build better businesses and better policy. Together with the global GRI community, we are leading the way in exploring the next phase of sustainability reporting.”
GRI’s Reporting 2025 program features an international discussion about the future of reporting, with a cross-industry Corporate Leadership Group working to further explore the trends identified.
The analysis paper is based on the first set of Reporting 2025 interviews and examines the key trends that businesses will need to focus on in the next decade, in order to transition to a more sustainable economy.
“At the beginning of the Reporting 2025 project, it was clear that two elements were needed to make measuring and reporting effective tools to promote change: focus and strategy. The release of the G4 Guidelines in 2013 was a major step forward in terms of making reporting more focused, but the question of how the practice should develop in the future remained unanswered,” GRI’s Chief Advisor on Innovation in Reporting, Nelmara Arbex, said.
“This paper summarises the beginning of our exploration and highlights a number of critical topics for further discussion in the next phase of the project.”
Thousands of corporate and public sector reporters in over 90 countries use the GRI Guidelines. More than 24,000 reports have been registered in GRI’s Sustainability Disclosure Database and 27 countries and regions reference GRI in their policies.
The organisation’s Reporting 2025 program is sponsored by Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, Enel and SAP.
Download a copy of the first Reporting 2025 analysis paper here.
For more information on GRI’s Corporate Leadership Group on Reporting 2025 click here.