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New partnership between Carrots & Sticks and the Reporting Exchange

  • Nov 27
  • Tags Sustainability; taxonomy; governance; public sector; private sector

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Improving understanding of sustainability disclosure by aligning taxonomy

Amsterdam, Geneva, Stellenbosch, 27 November 2019: Two leading initiatives providing resources to help audiences understand the environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure landscape – Carrots & Sticks and the Reporting Exchange – have collaborated to improve access to reliable and comparable information by aligning taxonomies.

Carrots & Sticks – from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), UN Environment Programme and the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) – is the flagship report and online resource for policymakers on sustainability reporting instruments, regulation, guidance and frameworks. The Reporting Exchange – built by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in partnership with Climate Disclosure and Standards Board (CDSB) and Ecodesk – is a global resource for ESG reporting, helping companies to understand what, where and how to report sustainability information.

Jointly, the newly aligned Carrots & Sticks and Reporting Exchange systems give public and private sector users an overview of hundreds of reporting provisions covering the world’s 70 largest economies.

This includes mandatory and voluntary requirements and guidance from regulators, capital markets, professional associations, industry bodies and other organizations. By providing this information, the two initiatives are driving the development of effective ESG reporting, strengthening both business and investor decision-making.

To help policy actors and companies get the most out of these databases, the two initiatives have aligned taxonomy and terminology so content is consistently categorised and easier to access. The new alignments will be reflected in the next Carrots & Sticks publication coming out in early 2020.

Peter Paul van de Wijs, GRI’s chief external affairs officer said,

I’m pleased that the information captured by Carrots & Sticks and Reporting Exchange has been made more consistent and comparable. This will help users access the information they need, which ultimately will inform better policy and underpin more effective sustainability reporting.”

Andy Beanland, director of redefining value at WBCSD said, “We’re delighted to collaborate with the Carrots & Sticks partners to align the information across our respective reporting data sources. This will reduce market confusion and ensure that we provide comparable information to businesses, policymakers and investors alike supporting the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.6.”

Cornis van der Lugt, senior lecturer extraordinaire at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, said, “Building on fifteen years of research, our aligned databases will facilitate ongoing assessment of the materiality of different topics, including trends in addressing different aspects of, for example, Sustainable Development Goals, different capitals or resources, and main areas of the economy, environment, social and governance agenda.”

The Carrots & Sticks initiative was started in 2006 by UN Environment Programme and KPMG, who were joined in 2010 by GRI and the University of Stellenbosch Business School. In 2016 it was launched as an online database. It covers over 400 reporting instruments from more than 60 countries, including stock exchange requirements, corporate governance codes, voluntary standards and reporting tools, as well as international provisions, frameworks and directives.

The Reporting Exchange was launched in 2017 as a comprehensive source of information on sustainability reporting requirements and resources. It was developed by the WBCSD with support from the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation and Ecodesk. It provides reporting organizations with tools to prepare and deliver corporate sustainability, annual or integrated reports, covering ESG requirements and resources for more than 70 countries.

Both databases cover reporting requirements and reporting resources, while the Reporting Exchange also covers management resources. The two databases will continue to track developments, such as who publishes reporting requirements or guidance, the type of companies expected to disclose information, emerging industry trends and the recommended approach and reporting type.

WBCSD is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world.

GRI is the independent international organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate their sustainability impacts.


For more information, contact:

  • GRI: Tom Whittles – Senior Media Relations Manager (+31 (0)20 531 0028)
  • WBCSD: Johanna Tähtinen – Associate, Redefining Value Program (+41 22 839 3162)
  • USB: Dr Cornis van der Lugt – Senior Lecturer Extraordinaire (+27 (0)21 918 4342)

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