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Advanced corporate sustainability reporting - XBRL taxonomy for sustainability reports based on the G3-guidelines of the gobal reporting initiative

: Isenmann, R.; Gomez, J.M.

Fulltext urn:nbn:de:0011-n-969966 (699 KByte PDF)
MD5 Fingerprint: f8a03e2dbbfaafb341b92d0054c0f195
Created on: 16.7.2009

Hrebicek, J.:
Towards eEnvironment. European Conference of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU 2009 : Opportunities of SEIS and SISE: Integrating Environmental Knowledge in Europe; March 25-27, 2009; Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, 2009
ISBN: 978-80-210-4824-9
European Conference of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU <2009, Prague>
Conference Paper, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer ISI ()
chemical safety reporting; REACH; sustainability reporting; eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL); Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Sustainability reporting describes a development path towards a concept of balanced corporate reporting, usually communicating the three pillars of environmental, social, and economic performance and its mutual interrelations, what in business terms is often called the triple bottom line approach.While early sustainability reports merely have been available on print media, today most are accessible on the WWW as HTML files or as PDFs. Such a layout oriented data format however, does not seem to be sufficient any longer, especially in terms of content-syndication, harmonization, efficiencies, future ICT needs, stakeholders' expectations, and data exchange inside and outside companies, and no less important - in the light of approaching a European system for collecting, analyzing, and reporting environmental information (SEIS). In order to meet these challenges, a standardized reference architecture for sustainability reports built on the eXtensible Businesses Reporting Language (XBRL) is proposed, and its underlying methodology is described. The entire development is based on a research initiative embedded in the German Environmental Informatics Community. The proposed document structure particularly meets the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI) sustainability reporting guidelines (G3). While developing a unifying document structure for sustainability reports, we made use of on existing XBRL Financial Reporting Taxonomies Architecture (FRTA) which is common for business financial reporting. Such a document structure is key for advanced reporting systems, especially current ICT applications like (web) content management systems. Using the reference architecture offers an impressive array of benefits, e.g. it helps: to facilitate data exchange between reporters and report users, to improve a company's information management, supports its reporting workflow, allocates its resources efficiently, exactly meets different requirements proposed by emerging guidelines, and refines communication with its target groups in a meaningful way. As a larger goal, the whole methodology which has been developed in document and software engineering could be transferred to Chemical Safety Reporting and its currently emerging requirements, based on the European Commission Regulation concerning registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals (REACH). For this reason, if no other, all stakeholders involved in Chemical Safety Reporting should benefit from prior experiences in the closely related field of sustainability reporting.