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CHAPTER 4. International Institute for Sustainable Development

Drivers Pushing Business to Corporate Responsibility

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) has indicated that some of the drivers for pushing business to incorporate social responsibility (CSR) are as follows:

• The shrinking role of government leading to voluntary and nonregulatory initiatives

• Stakeholder demands for greater disclosure

• Increased customer interest in social performance of companies and its influence on their purchasing decisions

• Investor assessment of companies' performance based on criteria that now includes ethical concerns when buying and selling stocks

• Competitive labor markets – employees looking beyond paychecks and benefits to operating practices and principles; companies being forced to improve working conditions

• Supplier relations – ensuring that other companies' policies or practices do not tarnish your reputation

When an organization adopts a policy of social responsibility, some of the positive benefits can be: enhanced brand image and reputation, increased sales and customer loyalty, more ability to attract and retain employees, and improved operating costs and financial performance bringing access to capital.[1]

Global Reporting Initiative

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an international nonprofit organization, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with a mission to make sustainability reporting standard practice for all companies and organizations, and produce sustainable reporting guidance.

GRI has Focal Point regional offices in Australia, Brazil, China, India, South Africa, and the United States. It has strategic partnerships with the United Nations Environment Programme, the UN Global Compact, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Organization for Standardization, and others. It was founded in Boston in 1997 with its roots in the U.S. nonprofit organizations the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) and the Tellus Institute.

Its Sustainability Reporting Framework, used by thousands of organizations of all sizes and sectors, includes reporting guidelines, sector guidance, technical guidance, and other resources to provide greater organizational transparency and accountability. The first version was launched in 2000 and the fourth generation, Guidelines G4, in May 2013.

The reporting includes information about improving an organization's commitment to sustainable development for economic, environmental, social, and governance performance. The GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines allow organizations around the world to assess their sustainability performance and disclose the results in the same way as financial reporting.

GRI's annual report for 2012 indicated that 95 percent of the 250 biggest companies in the world report their sustainability performance, with 80 percent using the GRI Guidelines, according to an international study released by KPMG in November 2011.[2]

  • [1] For further information on the Institute refer to its website at iisd.org/business/issues/sr.aspx.
  • [2] Reports on corporate sustainability can be found on the United Nations Global Compact website, unglobalcompact.org.
 
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