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Info Tech Will Lead to Real-Time Sustainability Reporting by 2025

Future improvements in information technology will lead to greater transparency, with sustainability reporting moving fully into the digital realm and occurring in real-time instead of annually, according to a new paper by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Sustainability and Reporting Trends in 2025: Preparing for the Future examines future trends in sustainability and corporate reporting and disclosure following a series of thought-leadership interviews.

GRI says the report facilitates an international discussion about the future of reporting with a cross-industry Corporate Leadership Group working to further explore the trends identified by the core team. The analysis paper is based on the first set of Reporting 2025 interviews and examines the key trends that businesses will need to focus on in the next decade, in order to transition to a more sustainable economy.

The paper also predicts that stakeholders will have more access to data, which will require organizations to align real-time decision-making processes with their communication on issues such as climate change and human rights. Increasingly empowered stakeholders, who will become more involved in governance and business strategy, will spur on these developments.

“Although the practice of measuring and reporting sustainability performance has increased dramatically over the last decade, more needs to be done,” GRI’s Chief Executive, Michael Meehan said in a statement. “We’ve made great progress, but we need to adapt and enable the market to build better businesses and better policy.”

In March, GRI introduced a new feature called ‘fast track’, which gives reporting organizations the option to accelerate the review of their draft reports. Organizations usually apply for the GRI services at the final stages of their reporting process. In order to help meet deadlines and publish reports on time, GRI debuted a ‘fast track’ to give reporting organizations the option to expedite the review of their draft reports. For an additional fee, GRI will provide its feedback in half the amount of time normally reserved for this.

In 2013, GRI released updated guidelines, which enable companies and organizations to report on their economic, environmental, social and governance performance. The updated guidelines — known as G4 — were significantly revised and enhanced to reflect current and future trends in the sustainability reporting landscape. In addition to enhancing the relevance and quality of standalone sustainability reports, G4 is a powerful tool for generating material sustainability information for inclusion in integrated reports.


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