The Future of Standardized Sustainability Reporting

CIGI Paper No. 275

May 1, 2023

Regulators and stakeholders demand reliable, valid and comparable information about a company’s operations — and increasingly, not only its financial performance, but its non-financial impacts on society and the natural environment. Accordingly, regulators and reporting entities have developed sustainability reporting standards, but these are grounded in different reporting goals and sometimes in conflict.

In this paper, Tia Rebecca Driver, Amr ElAlfy and Olaf Weber contribute to the current discussion of standardized sustainability reporting by analyzing the landscape of reporting frameworks and their governance bodies, which oversee and work on the standardization of sustainability reporting. They provide contextual background on the governance of sustainability reporting by comparing the prominent reporting frameworks to understand how they complement or conflict with one another. They then investigate the impact of mandatory reporting and materiality to understand how these concepts could influence the application and extensiveness of a composite reporting standard. Finally, the authors provide policy makers with recommendations that facilitate a standardized reporting approach that centres on sustainable development.

Part of Series

CIGI Papers Series

CIGI Papers present in-depth analysis and discussion on governance-related subjects. They include policy papers that present CIGI experts' positions or contributions to policy debates, and background papers that contain research findings, insights and data that contribute to the development of policy positions.

About the Authors

Tia Rebecca Driver is a doctoral candidate in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

Amr ElAlfy is an assistant professor of sustainability management at the College of Business and Economics at Qatar University.

Olaf Weber is a CIGI senior fellow and an expert on sustainability and the banking sector. He is currently a professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo and a University of Waterloo Research Chair in Sustainable Finance.