The development and implementation of GRI Standards: practice and policy issues

Carol Adams*, Abdullah Alhamood, Xinwu He, Jie Tian, Le Wang, Yi Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

15 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter discusses the development of GRI Standards and reviews recent research on practice and policy issues concerning their implementation. Six themes emerged in research published between 2010 and 2021: applicability of GRI Standards; nature of adoption of GRI Standards by report preparers; materiality assessment in GRI reporting; the level of understanding of GRI Standards; the voluntary status of GRI Standards and the need for mandatory reporting; and the quality of assurance. Research suggests that GRI Standards enhance: the comparability of sustainability reporting; the amount of information available on matters of concern to stakeholders; the identification of material issues; and the context relevance of information. However, the voluntary nature of GRI Standards means that firms tend to strategically disclose sustainability information to manage corporate reputation, therefore some firms fail to be accountable for material negative impacts. Researchers call for making GRI Standards mandatory and increasing the scope and uptake of external assurance. The chapter highlights areas for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Accounting and Sustainability
EditorsCarol Adams
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd
Publication statusAccepted - 10 Dec 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'The development and implementation of GRI Standards: practice and policy issues'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this