Number of organisations publishing environmental, sustainability etc. reports according to the Global Reporting initiative (GRI) standard (28.1)

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-340-en
Created 23 Mar 2012 Published 13 Apr 2012 Last modified 04 Sep 2015
6 min read

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The number of organisations in EEA-32 countries publishing environment and sustainability reports according to the Global Reporting initiative (GRI) standard has increased significantly and constantly every year since the GRI reports were launched in 1999. This indicates that government and private companies in EEA-32 countries increasingly disclose externally assured information on their sustainability performance.

Key messages

The number of organisations in EEA-32 countries publishing environment and sustainability reports according to the Global Reporting initiative (GRI) standard has increased significantly and constantly every year since the GRI reports were launched in 1999. This indicates that government and private companies in EEA-32 countries increasingly disclose externally assured information on their sustainability performance.

28. Do public institutions and private companies increasingly disclose externally assured information about their sustainability performance?

Number of organisations publishing environment and sustainability reports according to the Global Reporting initiative (GRI) standard

Note: Time series of the number of organisations publishing sustainability reports according to the Global Reporting initiative (GRI) standard

Data source:
Downloads and more info

The number of organisations in EEA-32 countries publishing environment and sustainability reports according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standard has increased from a mere 5 organisations reporting in 1999 to more than 850 organisations in 2010. It should be noted that the numbers represent the number of reports published in a given year. Organisations are not necessarily publishing each year – and the indicator is not a cumulative indicator.

In the period 1999-2003 the number of organisations reporting according to the GRI standard increased significantly in relative terms but still remained low. However, since 2004 the number of reports appearing each year has increased significantly year on year, growing by approximately 100 disclosure reports per year. The 850+ organisations in EEA-32 countries that reported using the GRI standard in 2010 are split across 22 European countries and more than 40 different ‘sectors’, including e.g. agriculture, automotive, energy, financial services, media, public agencies, retailers, universities and many more.

Overall, the developments in numbers of organisations in EEA-32 countries publishing environment and sustainability reports according to the GRI standard indicates that government and private companies in EEA-32 countries increasingly choose to publicly disclose externally assured information on their sustainability performance.

However, it should be noted that, with the total number of large enterprises in EU-27 exceeding 40,000, the number of organisations producing reports in any given year still represents less than 2% of all large enterprises in Europe. 

Indicator specification and metadata

Indicator definition

This indicator shows the number of organisations publishing environment and sustainability reports according to the Global Reporting initiative (GRI) standard in any given year.

Units

This indicator is expressed in absolute numbers of organisations publishing a report in a given year.


Policy context and targets

Context description

In 2001 the European Commission adopted a Recommendation (2001/453/EC) on recognition, measurement and disclosure of environmental issues in the annual accounts and annual reports of EU companies. The Recommendation clarifies existing EU accounting rules and provides guidance to improve the quality, transparency and comparability of environmental data available in companies' annual accounts and annual reports.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters was adopted on 25 June 1998 and entered into force on 30 October 2001 (it was signed by the EU in 1998 and approved in 2005).

The Aarhus Convention establishes a number of rights of the public (individuals and their associations) with regard to the environment. The Parties to the Convention are required to make the necessary provisions so that public authorities (at national, regional or local level) will contribute to these rights to become effective. In particular, the Convention provides for the right of everyone to receive environmental information that is held by public authorities ("access to environmental information"). Applicants are entitled to obtain this information within one month of the request and without having to say why they require it. In addition, public authorities are obliged, under the Convention, to actively disseminate environmental information in their possession;

The Carbon Disclosure Project is an independent not-for-profit organization holding the largest database of primary corporate climate change information in the world. Over 3,000 organizations in some 60 countries around the world measure and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, water management and climate change strategies through CDP, in order that they can set reduction targets and make performance improvements. This data is made available for use by a wide audience including institutional investors, corporations, policymakers and their advisors, public sector organizations, government bodies, academics and the public.

In September 2010, at the Clinton Global Initiative, the Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP) was launched. This initiative is similar to the annual reporting that many companies now voluntarily undertake in reporting their carbon use. Annual surveys will be presented to industry participants starting in 2011 who sign on to the PDP and volunteer to report their overall plastic use. All types of companies can be a signatory to the PDP, with the main focus initially on the consumer goods sector.

In the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe COM (2011) 571, part of the milestone under boosting efficient production reads “All companies, and their investors, can measure and benchmark their lifecycle resource efficiency”. 

Targets

No policy targets or objectives have been identified for this indicator.

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

The GRI Report list for each year was filtered for reports published by organisations established in the 32 countries of the EEA.  The total number of reports meeting this criteria were added together for each year. 

Methodology for gap filling

No gap filling was necessary for producing this indicator.

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been identified in the methodology used by the EEA to process the source data.

Data sets uncertainty

There is little uncertainty for the data set since it is expected that every organisation producing a report under the GRI standard will inform GRI who will publish this in the GRI Report list. 

Rationale uncertainty

The GRI mechanism does not require externally assurance as specified by the policy question though in many cases this has occurred.

The GRI based indicator will not capture all environmental disclosure reporting by European organisations. Many organisations will report using other standards or according to their own formats. 

Data sources

  • No datasets have been specified.

Metadata

Topics:

DPSIR: Response
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)

Dates

EEA Contact Info

Almut Reichel
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Comments

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100