A new study finds that corporate sustainability reporting often focuses on issues that are unimportant to stakeholders, and offers specific suggestions to improve the content of future corporate sustainability reporting efforts.
“Right now, most corporate entities rely on guidelines from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) when developing their sustainability reports,” says Marianne Bradford, a professor of accounting at North Carolina State University and lead author of a paper on the work. “We wanted to know whether stakeholders – particularly consumers – care about the aspects of sustainability those GRI guidelines promote. And our findings show that it’s a mixed bag.”
“These findings are important because industry standards on sustainability reporting are evolving,” says Scott Showalter, a co-author of the paper and professor of practice at NC State. “As a result, it’s valuable to have a good understanding of the sustainability issues important to consumers, who are the most important, influential group of corporate stakeholders.