Frameworks In Greenwashing

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Businesses are facing increasing pressures – from both internal and external stakeholders – to be accountable and transparent, and to disclose the social, environmental and economic impacts of their activities through sustainability reporting (Klettner, Clarke & Boersma 2014; Soderstrom 2013). Accordingly, there has been an increase in organisations’ claiming their voluntary commitment to the international standards and frameworks for corporate sustainability – namely, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)’s sustainability reporting guidelines (Klettner, Clarke & Boersma 2014; Milne & Gray 2013). According to Benn, Dunphy & Griffiths’ (2014) sustainability phase model, this demonstrates a shift…show more content…
This is not to say that frameworks such as the GRI do not endorse improvements in business reporting and accountability (Milne & Gray 2013). Rather, it is the fact that the adoption of these frameworks solely relies on the voluntary commitment by businesses that reduces its effectiveness (Klettner, Clarke & Boersma 2014; Milne & Gray 2013). This same issue also extends to companies’ codes of conduct and certification schemes.

Elsewhere, the introduction of the new IR framework by the IIRC (International Integrated Reporting Council) has been suggested to be a paradigm shift in the way corporations report their activities to stakeholders (Klettner, Clarke & Boersma 2014; Soderstrom 2013). Until now, business reports primarily focused on TBL (Triple-Bottom Line) reporting of economic, social and environmental impacts (Adams 2013). While some corporations have demonstrated a willingness to achieve higher standards of performance in corporate sustainability in line with international frameworks (such as the GRI), rarely do they produce reports which provide information on social and environmental issues to the same extent and quality as that of financial information (Boersma 2013;
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