The Future of Sustainability Reporting as a Regulatory Mechanism

Forthcoming in D. Cahoy & J. Colburn (eds), Law and the Transition to Business Sustainability. Springer Publishing.

Ross School of Business Working Paper No. 1228

26 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2014  

David Hess

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan

Date Written: March 2014

Abstract

Sustainability reporting is now a mainstream activity among large, global corporations. The majority of the largest corporations in the United States now produce sustainability reports, and several European countries either mandate corporations to produce some form of sustainability reports or are in serious consideration of such legislation. Although leading standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative have made significant advancements in setting out the types of information that corporations should publicly disclose, mandatory sustainability reports will not work as an effective policy mechanism unless they are placed in a system that can effectively utilize the information and cause corporations to change their policies and practices. This brief essay provides an overview of the current sustainability reporting industry, and sets out some potential breakdown points and possible future developments.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), social reporting, sustainability reporting

JEL Classification: K20, K29, M14

Suggested Citation

Hess, David, The Future of Sustainability Reporting as a Regulatory Mechanism (March 2014). Forthcoming in D. Cahoy & J. Colburn (eds), Law and the Transition to Business Sustainability. Springer Publishing.; Ross School of Business Working Paper No. 1228. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2416920 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2416920

David Hess (Contact Author)

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States
734-763-9779 (Phone)

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