Full Title: The Future of Standardized Sustainability Reporting
Author(s): Tia Rebecca Driver, Amr ElAlfy and Olaf Weber
Publisher(s): Center for International Governance Innovation
Publication Date: May 10, 2023
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The recent collaborative efforts between five predominant sustainability reporting standard setters suggest that corporate reporting standardization might be possible in the near future. The topics of double materiality and mandatory reporting have been explored in the literature. However, the implications of these topics on the efforts to standardize corporate sustainability reporting should be examined more closely.
In comparing existing sustainability reporting standards and frameworks, the authors of this paper found that these standards and frameworks are grounded in different reporting goals. Some standards and frameworks prefer financial materiality as a critical determinant for sustainability disclosure. This preference undermines the role of non-financial information in sustainability reporting, and could limit the scope of corporate disclosures. Thus, standardizing corporate sustainability reporting could inadvertently promote a narrow corporate sustainability perspective.
Based on our analysis of the existing corporate sustainability reporting landscape, we provide two recommendations to policy makers: establish mandatory minimum reporting requirements based on insights from existing industry-specific reporting standards, and embed double materiality into minimum reporting requirements to ensure alignment between corporate reporting and sustainable development.