Sustainability reporting: we are moving past “box ticking”

CDSB welcomes the launch of the GRI Standards as a tool to support mainstream corporate reporting, enhance efficient capital allocation and improve corporate performance

By Mardi McBrien, Managing Director CDSB & Vice-Chair GRI Stakeholder Council

When it comes to sustainability and environmental reporting, I am forever apologising to companies, investors and regulators, for the confusion standards setters (or quasi in CDSB’s case) have created, failing to come together and explain how all the different reporting bodies and requirements nicely fit together.

Last year CDSB launched a framework for environmental information and natural capital disclosure, building on the work of many other organisations and regulators developing codes, frameworks and standards for non-financial reporting.

We looked at how many of the commonly-used reporting provisions are connected, and created a cross-referencing table to stress how this connection could support and add value to the work or reporters.

Overview of the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is one of the key organisations working towards supporting sustainable decision making. An audience poll during their conference in May showed that 55% of the participants believed that investors would be the biggest consumers of sustainability information over the next 5 years. Which one of the reasons why getting sustainability reporting right has never been more vital.

The launch of the GRI standards last week was a positive step in the right direction. The standards do not change reporting requirements. But they do move past “box ticking” and the standalone sustainability report.

Companies can now make a GRI-referenced claim and report sustainability information which is material to investors, in their mainstream report. Other content can then be communicated on the company website or in a separate sustainability review or report.

Furthermore, the new GRI Standards support companies seeking to comply with the CDSB Framework. They do this by providing reliable, accurate, consistent and comparable information for use in the mainstream/integrated report.

By combining non-financial information with financial information in the mainstream report, companies can demonstrate how sustainability is integrated into the company’s overall strategy, risk assessments and performance measures.

That’s why we welcome the launch of the GRI Standards as a valuable resource supporting mainstream corporate reporting. We are confident that this will enhance sustainable decision making, and improve corporate performance. We look forward to working with the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB) to help communicate the complementarity of different reporting approaches to report preparers and users.

If you want to know more about how to integrate sustainability information in your mainstream report get in touch with us at .