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Company Sustainability Reporting

Nearly 1000 organizations worldwide report their sustainability progress using Global Reporting Initiative's "Sustainability Reporting Guidelines."

From simple statements in the 1980s, to expansive stand alone reports in the early years of the 21st century, sustainability reporting has become part of the transparency movement in business arond the world.

Even small nonprofits are making statements in their annual reports to let their supporters know that they not only make direct impact on their constituencies, but are doing so with sensitivity to key sustainability issues such as recycling, water conservation and pollution prevention.

The Global Reporting Initiative

In an effort to elevate sustainability reporting to levels long-expected of financial reporting, the Global Reporting Initiative has posted the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines ( on their website. The Guidelines reflect the contributions of numerous stakeholders from around the world, including companies, accounting organizations, investors, and environmental and social advocacy groups.

Sustainability Reporting Guidelines are continually updated to meet marketplace changes. The principles include:

  • Transparency
  • Inclusiveness
  • Auditability
  • Completeness
  • Relevance
  • Sustainability Context
  • Accuracy
  • Neutrality
  • Comparability
  • Clarity
  • Timeliness

    A helpful glossary is also provided to define sustainability and reporting terms. For example:

    Ecological footprint:
    The size and impact of the “footprints” on the earth’s ecosystems made by companies, communities, or individuals reflect a number of interlinked factors, including human population numbers, consumption patterns, and technologies used.

    Indicator categories:
    The broad areas, or groupings, of economic, environmental, or social issues of concern to stakeholders (e.g., human rights, direct economic impacts).