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GRI’s Predictions for Sustainability, Reporting Future Trends

GRIClimate change, increasing world population, wealth inequality, conflicts, human rights violations and population migration will all shape the general context in which businesses operate and decision-makers act — and these issues will intensify in the next decade, according to the Global Reporting Initiative, which has released its second analysis paper from its Reporting 2025 program.

The paper provides insights into the shape of reporting over the next decade.

Companies will be asked to engage publicly and concretely on specific topics, to use their operations and assets to help society tackle critical issues, according to GRI. Business leaders, therefore, should set ambitious goals to tackle these issues, which requires them to be better informed on the links between sustainability challenges and business performance and impacts.

Business leaders will need to proactively seek to break down operational silos and integrate the management systems of different departments in the company, in order to act more efficiently on the critical issues to be tackled. And at a more advanced level, they will need to review business development models considering current and future limitations and opportunities.

Over the next decade, GRI expects reports to become more integrated. Not only integrating financial and non-financial information, but also integrating disclosure and goals with organizations’ own supply chains and their partners’, aiming to clearly disclose companies’ efforts to tackle society’s issues.

At the same time, reports are expected to be shorter and more relevant, but yet still explain the context. “Companies will need to find the right balance between direct, ‘to-the-point’ information based on data that can be checked easily, and contextual descriptions that enable stakeholders to understand the efforts made or required”, says Nelmara Arbex, GRI chief advisor on innovation in reporting.

GRI’s first Reporting 2025 paper forecast new data technology will lead to greater transparency with corporate reporting moving fully into the digital realm and occurring in real-time instead of annually.

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