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Embedding gender in sustainability reports

Katherine Miles (Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 30 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to detail the research and consultation process highlighting the demand for this information, undertaken by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the International Finance Corporation.


The paper sets out the emerging drivers for reporting on gender information in sustainability reports. In turn, it argues that sustainability reporters have the potential to promote gender equality by transparently reporting on their organization's gender‐responsive practices and performance.


Investors are a key stakeholder to companies. There is a growing belief in the investment world that companies that empower women and encourage gender diversity may outperform those that do not in the long term. Gender performance is one possible indicator of organizations' financial strength.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is required to identify if recent developments increase corporate disclosure and performance reporting on gender equality.

Practical implications

The research was qualitative in nature and based on the perceptions of those attending the gender reporting consultation workshops and involved in the GRI Gender Working Group.

Social implications

Increased awareness of the case for reporting on gender equality could increase the reporting by companies and stakeholder demands for this information. In addition, the increased availability of this information could positively influence public policy addressing existing levels of gender inequality.


Stakeholder's demand for gender performance information, particularly on the number of women in management, is growing. Sustainability reporting as the mechanism that many companies worldwide are using to communicate their other environmental, social, and governance performance information can also help with communicating an organization's commitment to gender equality.



Miles, K. (2011), "Embedding gender in sustainability reports", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 139-146.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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