One-in-four major companies report with GRI Tax Standard

Source: Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), 14 May 2024

New research finds 26% of the 1,000 largest public companies worldwide are voluntarily using the GRI Tax Standard in their sustainability report, while policymakers and influential stakeholders are increasingly looking to GRI 207: Tax 2019 when articulating tax transparency expectations.

Global adoption trends for the GRI Tax Standard charts citations of GRI 207, which was launched in December 2019 as the first and only global standard for public, country-by-country reporting on tax, alongside tax strategy and governance.

Key findings in the GRI 207 research paper include:

  • At 34%, Europe is the leading region where headquartered companies are referencing GRI 207, followed by Asia (23%) and the Americas (19%).
  • At the national level, Switzerland leads the way, with 52% of the companies citing GRI 207, ahead of Italy (43%), Russia (40%), Germany and Spain (both 38%).
  • Mentions of the Standard per disclosure are fairly equal: 207-1 Approach to tax (28%); 207-2 Tax governance, control and risk management (26%); 207-3 Stakeholder engagement (23%); 207-4 Country-by-country reporting (22%).

The analysis tracks GRI 207: Tax 2019 citations in over 20 significant publications from regulators, investors, NGOs and others – including the European Union, EFRAG, Australian Government, Principles for Responsible Investment, UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative, Norges Bank Investment Management, Central Bank of Egypt, EU Platform on Sustainable Finance, EU Tax Observatory, and Fair Tax Mark.

The publication also highlights benefits of the Standard for users, such as that:

  • GRI 207 is helping create a global baseline on tax transparency, which is needed to reduce the compliance burden and provide stakeholders with universal and comparable information.
  • Use of GRI 207 to meet tax disclosure requirements will help businesses comply with incoming regulations, such as the EU’s CSRD and Taxonomy Regulation, while addressing perceptions of greenwashing.

Eelco van der Enden, CEO of GRI, said: “When we launched the Tax Standard in 2019, it was well received by business, investors and society. Tax data provide useful insights on the quality of profits, risk appetite and a company’s vision tax. This is highly relevant for assessing the contribution organizations make in the societies where they operate – information that investors and other stakeholders continue to demand. It’s therefore hugely encouraging that, in less than five years, GRI 207 has made such strong headway. Not only are over a quarter of large companies looking to our Standard to inform how they communicate about tax, it is also shaping the global debate on tax. Given the need for internationally comparable data on tax, driven by both voluntary and mandatory mechanisms, I fully expect continued alignment behind GRI 207 and encourage regulators not to deviate from GRI 207 when it comes to introducing tax transparency regulations. As Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz said, GRI 207 “is regarded as the gold standard. It is supported by large global corporations and some of the world’s biggest investors”.”

 Dave Reubzaet, Director Tax & Sustainability at Deloitte, added: “The fast and widespread global adoption of GRI 207, by companies and other stakeholders, can be seen as evidence that this Standard addresses a variety of needs and is in line with the international trend where the worlds of sustainability and tax meet. GRI 207 facilitates meaningful discussions in this field. For companies, GRI 207 also helps to move away from ‘self-made’ tax reporting and apply a recognized multi-stakeholder standard, which is applicable in key regulations, including the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. This will certainly drive further adoption in the coming years.”

Download the report (pdf)