Chapter 2

Brief History of Sustainability Reporting

The history of sustainability reporting and assurance is presented in this chapter. The conventional corporate reporting model reflects only financial information with regards to the bottom line. Sustainability reporting model provides financial and nonfinancial information on key performance indicators pertaining to economic, governance, social, ethical, and environmental (EGSEE) performance. Sustainability reporting is evolving from its initial focus primarily on environmental issues to corporate social activities and now disclosing information on all multiple bottom line EGSEE dimensions of sustainability performance. Sustainability reporting reflects performance not only in long-term profitability, but also discloses information on the well-being of the society, the planet, and people.

Historical Perspectives

The history of sustainability reporting can be traced back to as early as the 1960s and 1970s in Europe and slightly later in the United States when organization started to recognize their role in the society above and beyond profit maximization. The sustainability movement and reporting in the United States dates back to the first Earth Day held on April 22, 1970.1 After that, the movement gained momentum with a 1987 United Nations report, Our Common Future, better known as the Brundtland Report.2 This report promoted sustainability as a means of balancing economic and environmental issues and considering ...

Get Corporate Sustainability: Integrating Performance and Reporting now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.