“If sustainability reporting is the tail wagging the dog, … then the key to the more sophisticated implementation strategies that will emerge over the next decade will be metrics. Numerous attempts have been made to develop sustainability metrics and indicators, not only at the organizational level but also for sustainable communities, at the national level for use in domestic policy setting, and at the international level to compare nations. As a significant stakeholder itself, business should engage in the development of metrics and indicators at each level of scale.
“At the enterprise level, the myriad sustainability reports and questionnaires from the investment community and other stakeholders will generate a need for greater comparability and transparency. If the disclosure rules of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which are limited to environmental liabilities, do not escape a decades old time warp and expand to cover the broader scope of sustainability, the financial sectors will demand it. Moreover, it is not unreasonable to see currently distinct disclosure activities such as GRI reporting, Sarbanes Oxley requirements
and SEC materiality reporting converging over time.
“…As the transition to sustainability continues, we will see increasing pressure to adopt sustainability measures, perhaps driven at first by carbon mitigation metrics, and we can anticipate that huge advantages will accrue to companies that adopt transformational business models.”