Top Stories

December 16, 2014


Global Reporting Initiative to develop sector-related indicators

From next year the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) will be focusing on the development of specific sector-related indicators under its G4 Guidelines in a bid to encourage businesses to be more transparent with their reporting of sustainability issues and challenges.  GRI’s chief advisor on innovation in reporting, Nelmara Arbex, admitted that the level of flexibility allowed in the recently-adopted G4 process has in some cases lead to selective reporting as businesses ‘have been trained to only tell the nice part of the story’. She continued “The GRI wants sustainability reporting to be an expression of thinking processes, rather than a checklist. We want to bring businesses together with stakeholders and industry experts to tackle the real issues. This is where this idea of sector-related indicators comes in. When we think about the future of G4 reporting, we believe what will probably happen is that companies from the same sector will end up selecting a group of indicators that are common for all of them.” (Edie)


Sustainability difficult to communicate to investors

Companies are struggling to effectively communicate with investors on sustainability, according to a study by the UN Global Compact and Accenture, in collaboration with the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. The report does show that 88% of investors surveyed see sustainability as an opportunity for competitive advantage and 78% see it as a differentiator in determining industry leaders. Yet 91% of investors believe that sustainability should be better embedded into discussions between companies and investors, and 88% believe that they should pay greater attention to sustainability in company valuations. Furthermore, there is a gap between the perception CEOs and their sustainability teams are creating, and the real-world understanding of investors: 57% of CEOs surveyed reported they are able to set out their strategy for seizing opportunities presented by sustainability, while just 9% of investors believe this is the case. Similarly, 38% of CEOs believe they are able to accurately quantify the business value of their sustainability initiatives, yet only 7% of investors agree. (Environmental Leader)


Indonesia and Singapore agree to improve sharing of tax information

Indonesia and Singapore have agreed to step up efforts to share tax-related information to tighten loopholes on tax evasion in each other’s countries, Indonesia’s finance ministry said. The two countries have an agreement to exchange tax-related information upon request, including data from financial institution and individuals, since 1992. “Exchanging information by request is not enough to reveal all assets hidden by citizens of both countries. Therefore, to accelerate information flows, Indonesia and Singapore have committed to exchange information automatically to complement the mechanism for information exchange by request,” the ministry said. In a bid to tackle cross-border tax evasion, countries across the world are signing up to new standards drawn up in 2013 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for “automatic exchange of information” about each other’s taxpayers. (The Jakarta Globe)

Industry Collaboration

Food and agricultural industry titans pledge to advance agricultural sustainability

PepsiCo, P&G, Brown-Forman, Thompson Coburn, Tate & Lyle are among some of the new members who have joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture in 2014 and pledged to work towards the achievement of new sustainability goals. The group, which comprises grower organizations, agribusinesses, restaurants and retailers, conservation groups, universities and public sector partners, has announced new goals to advance the sustainability of US agriculture in six key areas. Field to Market president, Rod Snyder, said that the organisation has shown a new level of commitment with goals to address collective environmental challenges and responsibly manage the planet’s natural resources, contribute to solving regional water scarcity problems, and improve energy use efficiency from US crop production. The NGO’s goal is to engage 20 percent of productive acres of US commodity crop production, representing 50 million acres, in its supply chain sustainability program by 2020. (Just Means)


Report: Carbon capture must be fast-tracked as global coal growth deemed ‘unsustainable’

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says global governments must ‘radically accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technology’ as a new report reveals demand for coal will break the nine-billion-tonne level by 2019. Although global coal demand growth has been slowing in recent years, it is still forecast to grow at an average rate of 2.1% per year through 2019.”We have heard many pledges and policies aimed at mitigating climate change, but over the next five years they will mostly fail to arrest the growth in coal demand,” said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven. “Although the contribution that coal makes to energy security and access to energy is undeniable, I must emphasise once again that coal use in its current form is simply unsustainable.  “For this to change, we need to radically accelerate deployment of carbon capture and sequestration.”  (Edie)

Image source: Polyculture by Carla Antonini / CC BY-SA 3.0