Friday, November 10, 2006

On Corporate Sustainabilty Reports and the Guidelines from the Global Reporting Initiative

Some weeks ago, I received a copy of a "Corporate Sustainability Report" (CSR) from an Indian company, Reliance Industries Ltd. I was fascinated to read that this was one of the few CSRs that is based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines, which were initially published in 2002.

According to the covering letter from Reliance, as of July this year, only 162 organisations in 33 countries, had published reports recognized as "in-accordance" with the GRI guidelines. Nine Indian companies have produced CSRs and only two of them (ITC and Reliance) have published CSR recognised as being "in-accordance" with GRI guidelines. What's more, Reliance's report is the first report from Indian Oil & Gas sector to obtain "in-accordance" status.

Are the GRI's guidelines too easy, so that even Indian tobacco, and oil & gas companies can gain "in-accordance" status? Or are the guidelines too difficult? How does one explain the fact that in 3 years, only so few companies have found it possible to try and report according to the GRI guidelines? Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

Pierre Schlomo Presley said...

I imagine the simple answer has to be that it doesn't affect their short-term stock price.

Economics has failed us in the sense that we rely heavily on a system of attributing value that seems unable to, in a nod to Rumsfeld, price "known unknowns", much less "unknown unknowns" into the costs of doing business.

Will it take a tragedy on the scale of the Stein report to give us some "knowns" that will incite us to focus on the long-term?