The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has called for sustainability reporting to become mandatory in its response to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation consultation on its potential role in sustainability reporting standards.

The GRI said that this is necessary to enable higher comparability and transparency, ensuring the same level of ‘consistency and rigor’ for sustainability disclosures as applied to financial reporting.

The organisation also called for financial reporting to be strengthened to reflect the implications of sustainability issues and for a new corporate regime in which financial and sustainability reporting is given equal footing.

GRI chair Eric Hespenheide said: “GRI sees IFRS as a crucial partner in ensuring a seamless link between financial and sustainability reporting. Therefore, we fully support the IFRS Trustees in their objective to improve financial reporting so it is inclusive of the financial risks and opportunities presented by a company’s sustainability impacts.

“The interconnection between financial and sustainability reporting deserves particular attention by the IFRS, and is an area I believe we can closely collaborate on. It is essential to limit the burden on businesses while at the same time ensuring enhanced reporting that illuminates corporate impacts.

“Improved depth and quality of reporting can only be realized when financial and sustainability reporting are on an equal footing – with mandatory disclosure requirements for both. Furthermore, we cannot achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the EU Green Deal, or other regional and global commitments, without accounting for the contribution of companies.

“GRI’s vision is of a sustainable future that is supported by global sustainability reporting standards, which inform all stakeholders – from investors through to civil society, policy makers, labor unions and others. We stand ready to work with the IFRS Foundation to achieve this aim.”