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What does GRI-reporting tell us about corporate sustainability?
2009 (English)In: The TQM Journal, ISSN 1754-2731, E-ISSN 1754-274X, Vol. 21, no 2, 168-181 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this paper is to discuss what the business contribution to sustainable development is (or should be) and to propose criteria for assessing corporate sustainability. These criteria are applied for the analysis of Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)-reports of five major cement manufacturers. This will result in a discussion if GRI-based sustainability reports really contain the information needed for judging corporate sustainability. Design/methodology/approach - Starting from a literature review of common definitions and principles, the main criteria of corporate sustainability were developed and a set of evaluation criteria for analyzing sustainability reports was proposed. Definitions and principles from concepts such as eco-efficiency, triple-bottom-line, the natural step and stakeholder value were considered. Using these criteria analysis was made of the GRI-based sustainability reports of five major cement manufacturers in order to find out to what extent the reports really address the sustainability performance of the companies. The companies were chosen because of their dominant position in the building material supply chain. The building industry has multiple impacts on the environment as well as on the social system. The decisions and actions of the cement manufacturers have influence on the entire supply chain, from raw material suppliers to the end customer. Findings - The findings lead to the conclusion that the current GRI guidelines are not sufficient to make sustainability reporting for the cement industry relevant and clear. In other words, the guidelines are not sufficient for assuring that a report answers the questions of how sustainable a company is and how quickly it is approaching sustainability. Within the GRI guidelines the needs of the customers are not considered sufficiently. This points at an important area where business excellence ideas can support sustainability reporting. This could be done, for instance, by including the concept of cost of poor quality into sustainability reporting guidelines. Originality/value - The most common framework for sustainability reporting on an empirical basis was critically analysed. The qualitative study delivers insights into sustainability reporting in an industry with large impacts on global climate change and living conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 21, no 2, 168-181 p.
Research subject
Quality Technology and Management
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-14307DOI: 10.1108/17542730910938155Local ID: da86dca0-af41-11de-8293-000ea68e967bOAI: diva2:987262
Uppr├Ąttat; 2009; 20091002 (evan)Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29

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