The Board Members of the Global Reporting Initiative have earlier this week adopted the Amsterdam Declaration on Transparency and Reporting. The Declaration argues for the adoption of the ‘global reporting framework that enhances transparency and is informed by the legitimate interest of all key sectors of society.’ In this way, the increased transparency would contribute to better corporate performance in relation to environmental, social and governance standards. It remains to be seen how serious will this Declaration be taken by corporations in practice. A number of main points from the Declaration are reproduced below:
- The root causes of the current economic crisis would have been moderated by a global transparency and accountability system based on the exercise of due diligence and the public reporting of environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.
- The profound loss of trust in key institutions is best addressed by the adoption of a global reporting framework that enhances transparency and is informed by the legitimate interest of all key sectors of society.
- A revitalized and resilient economic system will only be sustained if it accounts for the full costs and value of ESG activity.
Therefore the Board of GRI calls on governments to take leadership by:
- Introducing policy requiring companies to report on ESG factors or publicly explain why they have not done so.
- Requiring ESG reporting by their public bodies – in particular: state owned companies, government pension funds and public investment agencies.
- Integrating sustainability reporting within the emerging global financial regulatory framework being developed by leaders of the G20.