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Using Global Reporting Initiative indicators for CSR programs

Kathleen Wilburn (School of Management and Business, St Edward's University, Austin, Texas, USA)
Ralph Wilburn (School of Management and Business, St Edward's University, Austin, Texas, USA)

Journal of Global Responsibility

ISSN: 2041-2568

Article publication date: 3 May 2013




The purpose of this paper is to propose that the Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI ) reporting guidelines, specifically its performance indicators, can be used to help a company create ethical corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies and to also help stakeholder groups evaluate how much of a company's CSR initiative truly means the stakeholder definition CSR and how much is merely philanthropy or marketing.


The paper examines the GRI reporting guidelines for applicability to CSR principles, and explains the key elements of the economic, environmental, social, society, and product responsibility performance indicators.


Examples of how companies have used the indicators to report data on GRI's website are provided as evidence that the distinctions made by the performance indicators indicate levels of adherence to CSR principles.


Given the increased demand for accountability for the actions of companies toward their stakeholders, particularly the environment, using the GRI's performance indicators can continue dialogue on how CSR programs are evaluated by the ethics community, the public, and business.



Wilburn, K. and Wilburn, R. (2013), "Using Global Reporting Initiative indicators for CSR programs", Journal of Global Responsibility, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 62-75.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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