Global Reporting Initiative Indicator Selection Decisions: A Case Study
28 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2013
Date Written: January 15, 2013
Due to the voluntary nature of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines, GRI adopter does not have to report every GRI indicator. This raises the question whether a company that claims to adopt GRI tends to report only the GRI indicators that would portray it in a good light. This paper attempts to shed light into this question. Specifically, this paper investigates how a company decides which social and environmental indicators to report, why those indicators are chosen and whether and how GRI adoption affects indicator selection decisions. Sustainability reporting by Company A, a Canadian mining company, is used as a case study for this paper. Research methods include interviewing Company A’s employees who are involved in preparing GRI reports and reviewing both internal and external documents. Economic theory, institutional theory, and integrative social contracts theory are used as my analytical lenses. I argue that Company A’s sustainability reporting appears to be driven most heavily by the factors associated with economic theory. Even though the number of indicators reported by Company A increases after GRI adoption, the amount of details appears to be insufficient in some cases. This makes it difficult or impossible for stakeholders to find specific information that they need from the company’s GRI report, especially the information at the mine site level. In addition, reporting in accordance with GRI does not appear to help improve information accuracy.
Keywords: non-financial reporting, Global Reporting Initiative, sustainability, mining
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