This type of reporting is a way for companies to be transparent about
their achievements and challenges and to demonstrate their commitment
to sustainable development.
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an organisation that provides a standardised framework for organisations to report their economic, environmental and social performance. This framework is widely used around the world as a benchmark for sustainability reporting.
In the United States, a number of resolutions have been put to corporations to issue reports to shareholders on company sustainability policies and management systems. For example, in 2009 the Interfaith Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) coordinated a resolution put to Apple Corp, Inc. on climate change reporting:
Shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a sustainability report describing corporate strategies regarding climate change, specifically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and addressing other environmental and social impacts such as toxics and recycling, as well as employee and product safety. The report, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, should be published by July 2009.
The report should include the company’s definition of sustainability and a company-wide review of company policies, practices and metrics related to long-term social and environmental sustainability. Taking early action to calculate emissions and prepare for standards could provide competitive advantage, which inaction risks exposing companies to regulatory and litigation risk and reputational damage. We recommend that Apple use the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines to prepare the sustainability report and to use the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) as a means to specifically report on its greenhouse gas emission and reduction efforts.
The Climate Advocacy Fund intends to support similar resolutions put to Australian listed companies.