The Global Reporting Initiative

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) was established to provide global guidelines for the reporting of social and environmental information, and to ensure consistent reporting. The Sustainability Reporting Framework provides guidance for organisations to use as the basis for disclosure about their sustainability performance, and also provides stakeholders a universally-applicable, comparable framework in which to understand disclosed information.

Although GRI reporting in Australia is voluntary, a number of Australian companies do apply the G4 guidelines, or the more recent Global Reporting Standards, in preparing a published sustainability report. Concerns have been raised that, as GRI reporting is not compulsory or necessarily audited, a company could misrepresent its level of compliance with the G4 guidelines or the Global Reporting Standards in publishing sustainability reports. The current lack of consequences for companies who, deliberately or unintentionally, publish misleading and inaccurate sustainability information is a contributor to this situation.

Despite the lack of enforceability in sustainability reporting the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations require a listed entity to disclosure ‘whether it has any material exposure to economic, environmental and social sustainability risks, and if it does, how it manages or intends to manage that risk’. This change reflects increasing calls globally for the business community to address matters of economic, environmental and social sustainability and the increasing demand from investors, especially institutional investors, for greater transparency on these matters so that they can properly assess investment risk.

Required 

You are required to meet as a group to choose two Australian companies that participate in Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Specifically, as a group, students identify the two companies, their sustainability reports for the same year and collect any further published information on the company’s approach to sustainability reporting.

Using the companies identified by the group, students are required to individually complete the assignment in two parts.

  1. Based on your two chosen companies, you should compare and contrast in a Report on their GRI Output and Objectives and make a judgement on whether the companies’ sustainability reports reflect the principles of the GRI. (word limit 1,000 words) (+/- 10% and in word format, not pdf)
  2. Choose one of the companies identified by the group and explain why you think the chosen company is ethical or not, based on either utilitarian or deontological/duty-based ethics theories covered in Week 8. Your answer should consider both actions your chosen company reports that might be viewed as ethical, and actions your chosen company reports that might be viewed as unethical. (word limit 1,000 words) (+/- 10% and in word format, not pdf)

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