In 2007, the Swedish government introduced new guidelines requiring state-owned companies to provide sustainability reports in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The reform was part of an active ownership policy of the Swedish government with an ambition to promote sustainability in state-owned companies. Given the lack of empirical studies on the effects of GRI reporting this explorative study examines the consequences of new requirements on GRI reporting on state-owned companies in Sweden. The purpose of the paper is to investigate if and to what extent the government’s augmented sustainability information requirements have had effects on the sustainability activities at state-owned companies. The study is based on questionnaires sent to CSR and sustainability managers at state-owned companies and to the chairmen of these companies. The questionnaires were complemented with interviews with the sustainability managers of a selection of these state-owned companies. The results show that the introduction of the new guidelines affected the companies to varying degrees. The companies that lacked previous experience of sustainability reporting have gone through a more extensive process of change than those that were already submitting sustainability reports. The results also show that the guidelines contributed mainly to improved procedures for reporting on sustainability issues rather than bringing about far-reaching changes in sustainability activities in practice. This leads us to the conclusion that the reporting of sustainability issues in the first instance strengthens and improves reporting procedures, whereas the next step – to changes in practice – is a greater one.
SAMHÄLLSVETENSKAP -- Ekonomi och näringsliv (hsv//swe)
SOCIAL SCIENCES -- Economics and Business (hsv//eng)
SOCIAL SCIENCES Business and economics Business studies