Number of Companies Reporting Sustainability Performance High, Yet Still a Minority: GRI

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Press Release by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI):

Amsterdam, Netherlands — New figures released today (July 15, 2009) 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 aware of over 1000 organizations worldwide who issued sustainability reports based on the GRI G3 Guidelines in 2008 – the highest number ever recorded. [1]The figure represents an increase of 46 per cent on the 2007 figure of 685.

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.

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.

In terms of the numbers of reports GRI is aware of, 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

8. South America – 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. 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,” said GRI Chief Executive.

“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.

Already in Sweden all state owned companies are now required to publish annual GRI-based sustainability reports and policy is in place, or in the process of being developed in Denmark, Norway, China, and other countries to encourage the uptake of sustainability reporting.

Click here to see the full GRI Online Reporters Database.

Media contact:

Scott McAusland, Global Reporting Initiative

t: +31 (0)20 531 0034 e:

About The Global Reporting Initiative

The Global Reporting Initiative has pioneered the development of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework and is committed to its continuous improvement and application worldwide. This framework sets out the principles and indicators that organizations can use to measure and report their economic, environmental, and social performance.


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