Swedish state-owned companies reporting greater sustainability work based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
Sweden has a unique status with a state-owned sector that enjoys a turnover of over EUR 50 billion. Forty three out of fifty seven companies are 100 per cent state-owned. A new report from Sweden based on the state-owned companies’ work with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and sustainable development shows that they have been given greater priority, but putting the changes into practice still remains an issue.
In 2007, The Swedish government introduced new guidelines requiring state-owned companies to provide sustainability reports in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). This decision by a government as owner was one of the first pro-active decisions to demand a regulatory framework for reporting on sustainable development.
Some weeks ago a first report was delivered on the extent to which government-augmented sustainability information requirements has affected sustainability activities at state-owned companies.
The results show that the introduction of the new guidelines affected the companies to varying degrees. The companies that lacked previous experience of sustainability reporting have gone through a more extensive process of change than those that were already submitting sustainability reports. The results also show that the guidelines contributed mainly to improved procedures for reporting on sustainability issues rather than bringing about far-reaching changes in sustainability activities in practice.
The GRI initiative provides a practical tool for many companies worldwide that need to shape their internal sustainability work. More than 1,300 organisations from 64 countries published a GRI based sustainability report in 2009. GRI recommends a step-by-step approach in integrating with the day-to-day business activities.
In an interview with this blog, Gunnar Olofsson, CEO of Sveaskog, one of the Swedish state-owned companies, says that he regards the GRI tool as an vital aid in developing the company’s long term business strategy and brand.
Sustainability reporting will be, or already is, a requirement from both government and stakeholders, so why not start learning straight away? Waiting could have a negative affect on both your brand and market position.
Download and read report from the Swedish Government – Report state-owned companies and GRI 2010 eng
With Best Regards