GRI and Governments

Governments have a direct interest in sustainability reporting. Widespread sustainability reporting can help markets function more efficiently and help drive progress toward sustainable development goals.
Contributing to government-agreed sustainable development goals

Governmental interest in sustainability reporting was underlined when heads of state specifically endorsed GRI in the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development Plan of Implementation.

 From its creation, GRI’s close association with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) ensured that it has contributed to and supported guidance for international policy objectives.
GRI’s Guidelines refer to and are based on several international human rights, environmental and labor treaties, standards and conventions.
In addition, GRI collaborates closely through formal alliances with international organizations and initiatives active in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability. GRI has strategic partnerships with the OECD and the UN Global Compact, and collaborates with UNCTAD and others.

Governments in the field of sustainability reporting

Governments play a multi-faceted role in the sustainability reporting field. Governments are not just involved in sustainability reporting as regulators, by means of regulating private entities. They also play an important role with regard to their own organizational transparency about financial and non-financial performance, and are asked to lead by example. State-owned companies might be asked to report on their sustainability performance, as is the case in Sweden and China. Public agencies are starting to report on their sustainability performance, and are asking their suppliers to do the same through sustainable public procurement practices and policies. Transparency on environmental, social,  and governance factors also comes into play if the government is acting as investor or investment manager.

Governments can also raise awareness around organizational transparency, stimulate public debate and act as a convener of multi-stakeholder events. Governments are positioned to invite business to support specific initiatives and activities, promote and support research, build practical capacity, enter into public-private partnerships, and promote and support multi-stakeholder initiatives.

Governments, together with private sector leaders, civil society organizations, trade unions, trade associations, and committed individuals around the world, can contribute to the mainstreaming of sustainability reporting that is necessary to achieve a transparent, sustainable global economy, sharing responsibility for this vital transition.