The voluntary none-financial sustainability report has become a trend within accounting. The environmental issues used to be driven by activists only, but lately it has moved in to the general agenda in many companies. Investors are starting to put more attention to the sustainability reporting as it is considered to add value to the company. There are several standard guidelines to be used when producing a sustainability report, one example is the GRI´s Guidelines that takes the following three dimensions in consideration: economy, environment and social. This Guideline is from an international perspective considered to be of good accounting practice (Ljungdahl 2008).
The purpose of this composition is to review the ways of working with sustainability reports using the GRI standards within eight Swedish banks. The expert auditor Lars-Olle Larsson stated in an interview with Maria Ottosson (2007) that the Swedish banks are still not in parallel with its international competitors in the field of sustainability reporting. To answer our purpose we have reviewed the annual reports of eight Swedish banks from a GRI perspective.
Our investigation shows on a wide spread between the banks. There are several ways of affecting within the sustainability area, both direct and indirect. Direct influence can be via use of electricity, handling of waste paper and business travels. Indirect influence can be via demanding sustainability reports when lending money to companies and offering ethical and environmental funds. According to GRI it is of high importance to interact with the stakeholders in order to develop the sustainability reporting. The participants in our survey are describing its clients, employees and owners from a narrow perspective; they have not yet realized that there are more parties to include under the sustainability umbrella.
The result from our investigation shows that seven out of eight banks are not reaching an acceptable standard within the field of sustainability reporting, some banks have initiated a process, some banks are not reporting anything at all. Swedbank is the only bank that is fully on board and driving sustainability reporting.
- Juridik (505)