Voluntary Environmental Reports (GRI) and Environmental Responsibility

Voluntary Environmental Reports (GRI) and  Environmental Responsibility

In recent years, corporations developed and adopted the approach defining the notion of environmental commitment as part of the idea of social responsibility, seen as a comprehensive strategic approach aimed on the one hand to serve as a bridge between the company and the surrounding community and on the other hand to enhance the business success of the firm. On a wider perspective, in addition to a commitment to protect the environment and reduce the negative effects of the firm on the environment, social responsibility includes other areas such as ethical conduct of business (avoiding biased, misleading advertising, the use of children as cheap labor, etc), marketing products which incorporate social goals, social involvement and community care, improving the work environment of employees, protection of human rights in general and workers' rights in particular and integrating social considerations in decision making. 

In many cases, improving the environmental performance of the firm may lead to savings in resources and costs. According to the global reporting initiative index (GRI), which offers a framework for voluntary reporting to the public, the grade of the degree of sustainability employed by a company will be reviewed in light of such factors as raw materials; Energy; Water consumption; Air emissions; Handling and transportation of hazardous waste; Compliance to environmental laws and regulations and more. 

The development of the culture of public environmental reporting is of great importance, but corporations need to beware of the situation when its environmental reporting, due to lack of full details of the voluntary environmental study, becomes a two-edged sword. For example, a partial report or failure to report on all of the areas of concern within the scope of environmental issues in environmental report, or partial disclosure of data, may cause false expectations and misleading interpretations on the part of investors in the company at the time of acquisition, merger, or in the course of issuing shares. Moreover, incomplete voluntary environmental reporting can change business decisions of third parties, who intend to buy or sell assets located adjacent to the company's assets. And if that was not enough, according to the view that environment affected by activities of a company is public property - the transfer of environmental information to the public and transparency in this field are of intrinsic value, and transfer of incorrect or partial information may be interpreted as an offence on the public interest. Professional and systematic examination of the company's environmental activities is therefore of the highest importance - both in terms of the engineering technology employed and in terms of legal compliance requirements to environmental law, when a corporation composes its voluntarily report to the public.