Sustainability reporting to change dramatically by 2025

23rd March 2016

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Vince Jewell

Corporate reporting on sustainability issues will move from annual reports to real-time data exchange, according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

The organisation asked businesses and civil society leaders what the future was for sustainability reports and found that many believe reporting will become far more interactive over the next decade. According to respondents, the next era of reporting would see static, annual reports replaced by almost real-time data exchange.

The predictions are the culmination of the first year of the GRI’s sustainability and reporting 2025 project, which the organisation hopes will promote a debate on how to make data on corporate sustainability more useful for decision makers, investors and customers.

‘After scores of discussions with business executives and other experts, it is clear that the way companies will interact with society about their performance will change dramatically, and sustainability performance data will play a pivotal role in implementing solutions to society’s most pressing challenges,’ said GRI’s chief adviser on innovation in reporting Nelmara Arbex.

The GRI has produced a summary of the key findings of its research, which it says lays out the first steps to developing ways of using sustainability data to inform decisions across businesses and economies.

‘This is essential if we want to make the UN Sustainable Development Goals and COP21 agreements a reality,’ said Arbex.

The next phase of the project will focus on how data technology could be used in corporate reporting. GRI will be trialling some of the ideas uncovered by the first stage of the research with its corporate leadership group on reporting 2025, which comprises companies in the construction, food and beverage and telecommunications sectors.


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