The study aims at:
1. Assessing two current major trends: Integrated Reporting and the use of ICT, which are expected to generate more focused, interactive reports.
2. Highlighting the macro trends influencing sustainability reporting as identified by mainstream and SRI investors, international experts and opinion leaders in the field.
3. Providing information on specific reporting by newcomers (SMEs, public agencies) as well as locally sourced information pieces on the current and future state of sustainability reporting within three of the world’s largest emerging economies (Brazil, China, South Africa, India).
After 10 years, sustainability reporting has become mainstream for big-listed businesses in many countries, with GRI reporting being the standard. Despite this, there has been no sea change in integrating sustainability into business strategies.
Stakeholders don’t read reports and don’t use them for decision-making. They want more specific and more accurate information. No longer can one solely publish a one-size-fits-all report and get away with it.
Huge parts of the economy remain opaque: SMEs, public agencies and SOEs. In emerging countries, where family owned businesses are prominent, sustainability reporting is still an exception.
Sustainability reporting has to evolve to serve its initial goals.
This report presents findings on evolving trends impacting sustainability reporting in the 21st century, based on common opinions expressed by experts, producers and consumers of sustainability reports. From the various surveys conducted with our targeted pool of resources, the results of all our analysis presented here highlight three main trends and seven sub-trends that are most likely to define reporting standards in this century
The sustainability revolution will, hopefully, be the third major social and economic turning point in human history, following the Neolithic Revolution - moving from hunter-gathering to farming - and the Industrial Revolution
HRH Prince Charles (2009)