Organizations of all stripes are gradually seeing the value of looking beyond economic performance for indicators of success. Consumers, investors, governments and business leaders now consider how an organization’s social and environmental policies affect its sustainability and that of society at large a potentially critical issue. With the introduction of triple bottom line (TBL) reporting in the late ’90s, all stakeholders were introduced to a new method with which to review the economic, environmental and social impacts of an organization. Management accountants could play an important role in taking this change into the business mainstream.
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) was formed in 1997 as a partnership between the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES). The GRI was formed to bring consistency to the TBL reporting process by “enhancing the quality, rigour and utility of sustainability reporting.” Representatives from business, accounting societies, organized labour, investors and other stakeholders all participated in the development of what is now known as the GRI Sustainability Guidelines.