Scoring corporate environmental and sustainability reports using GRI 2000, ISO 14031 and other criteria

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the extent to which current voluntary corporate environmental reports meet the requirements of two new sets of guidelines: (i) the Global Reporting Initiative GRI 2000 sustainability reporting guidelines and (ii) the ISO 14031 environmental performance evaluation standard. We converted them to comprehensiveness scoring systems then used them along with three existing comprehensiveness scoring systems to evaluate the 1999 reports of 40 of the largest global industrial companies. Many of the reports scored highly with the existing systems, but the GRI and ISO guidelines are much more detailed and comprehensive, and resulted in much lower scores. In particular, the economic and social topics that make up 42% of the potential GRI score and the environmental condition indicators that make up 22% of the ISO 14031 score were minimally addressed in all of the companies' environmental reports. Current reporting practices of the companies whose reports we examined here are well below the standards reflected in the GRI and ISO 14031 guidelines, even when the reports scored well with existing report scoring systems. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. and ERP Environment

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