Sustainability reporting is the practice of measuring, disclosing, and being accountable to internal and external stakeholders for organizational performance towards the goal of sustainable development.
‘ Sustainability reporting’ is a broad term considered synonymous with others used to describe reporting on economic, environmental, and social impacts (e.g., triple bottom line, corporate responsibility reporting, etc.).
A sustainability report should provide a balanced and reasonable representation of the sustainability performance of a reporting organization – including both positive and negative contributions.
Source: Global Reporting Initiative, “Sustainability Reporting Guidelines,”: (2006) Global Reporting Initiative
Upon finalization of their report, preparers declare the level to which they have applied the GRI Reporting Framework, this system aims to provide:
Report readers with clarity about the extent to which the GRI elements have been applied
Report preparers with a path for incrementally expanding application of the GRI Reporting Framework over time.
There are three levels in the system. They are titled C, B, and A, reflecting an increasing application or coverage of the GRI Reporting Framework. An organization can self-declare a “plus” (+) at each level if they have utilized external assurance.
The information in a report should cover topics and Indicators that reflect the organization’s significant economic, environmental, and social impacts, or that would substantively influence the assessments and decisions of stakeholders.
Materiality Assessment Source: Global Reporting Initiative, “Sustainability Reporting Guidelines,”: (2006)
Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Report – Starbucks
Sustainability Report – Johnson & Johnson
Corporate Citizenship Report - Microsoft
Corporate Sustainability Report – Wal-Mart
Corporate Responsibility Report - IBM
Links to Sample External Reports
Corporate Responsibility Report - Novo Nordisk As the world leader in diabetes care, what is Novo Nordisk’s role? Our dream and our hope is that we can cure diabetes. Our commitment is backed by substantial investment in diabetes research, but finding a cure for type 1 diabetes and preventing type 2 diabetes are very difficult tasks. In the absence of a cure, we are leading the fight against diabetes, advocating and working for improvements in prevention, earlier diagnosis, better treatments and, eventually, a cure.