‘Carrots and Sticks’ update

Alex Nichol

Sustainability Reporting Update

GRI, UNEP et al are updating their worldwide review on sustainability reporting policies and regulations. The update will be launched at the forthcoming GRI global annual jamboree conference.

The last C&R report (it’s every two years) basically described the intensification of governments, market regulators and stock exchanges popping out reporting policies and regulation over recent years.

So, most governments want stability and economic growth. And most companies want to be efficient and (increasingly) recognise risks and opportunities affecting their top line.

The authors argue that “Sustainability reporting is, therefore, a vital step for managing change towards a sustainable global economy” (that means an economy that combines long-term profitability with social justice and environmental protection).

So whilst many companies are reporting these days, many are still not. They’re missing out. Reporting needn’t be a big expensive headache. Especially when the core principles of it are applied properly (e.g., focusing on only the relevant issues in a risk-based manner).

And while many have yet to start, the practice is boosted by policy and regulation. Governments and companies benefit. For example, reporting allows for more stable markets – wider (sometimes called “non-financial”, or “pre-financial”) risks are more transparently presented to investors.

So, if you (or a boss) are looking for evidence that governments, stock exchanges, etc, around the world see the benefit in reporting, then take a peek at the C&R reviews.

In 2006, 58% of policies were mandatory; in 2014, more than two-thirds (72%) of the 180 policies in the 45 reviewed countries were mandatory. Where next? If you would like to talk through other benefits of sustainability strategy and reporting then do get in touch!

The latest “Carrots & Sticks” report can be viewed here: https://www.globalreporting.org/resourcelibrary/Carrots-and-Sticks.pdf


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Author: Alex Nichol

Alex Nichols, Senior Sustainability Reporting Consultant, Director ANCL and Associate Director Paia Consulting. Alex works with AB on reporting projects. To take advantage of AB’s support based on over 10 years of reporting experience, along with our specialist reporting associates, then please do get in touch.


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