Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

GRI’s G4: XBRL To Transform Sustainability Reporting?

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XBRL is an open standard for tagging business data that includes semantic meaning, i.e.,

  • the same tags are used by all companies to facilitate data sharing
  • tags have meaning to humans
  • tag library expands to fit user needs

I’ve written before about how XBRL may transform sustainability reporting here and here. However, the announcement by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) that it is developing an XBRL taxonomy for its G4 standard is a major shift towards transforming how data are collected, shared, and used for value add among various sustainability stakeholders: reporting firms, third parties such as CDP, institutional investors, Bloomberg, etc.

GRI and Deloitte said the taxonomy they are developing will enable companies to tag their sustainability data in reports, which will help investors, auditors and other users to access and compare GRI data more easily and quickly. The two organizations said the taxonomy will also help organizations improve the quality and integrity of their sustainability performance data. [more]

As Deloitte puts it, this “major shift” may have far-reaching consequences for transparency, data quality, and the emergence of value added services.

“We are experiencing a major shift towards electronic information delivery,” said Cees de Boer, CFO and COO of Deloitte in the Netherlands. “This development is already very important in financial reporting and is increasingly being used for both numerical and textual non-financial information. [more]

It goes beyond “delivery” (see iTunes).

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Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

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