International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

The Rise of the Global Reporting Initiative: A Case of Institutional Entrepreneurship

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Since its conception in 1999, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has become a leading template for voluntary sustainability reporting by companies. Emerging on the crest of the debate about corporate social responsibility, appropriate roles for business, government, and civil society in the sustainability transition, and private forms of global governance, it is also a descendant of 1970s social movements. Drawing on extensive empirical data collected through interviews and documentary analysis in four countries, the institutional entrepreneurship framework is used to analyse three types of tactics deployed by GRI champions: discursive, material and charismatic. Central to GRI entrepreneurs' success was maintaining balance between the individual and collective interests of their diverse constituencies, between inclusiveness and efficient pursuit of technical objectives, and between building a new institution and not challenging existing institutions and power relations. This strategy, though perhaps appropriate under the circumstances, left a legacy of unresolved tensions. How these are resolved will determine GRI's future shape and function.

Publication Title

Environmental Politics

Publication Date

3-13-2009

Volume

18

Issue

2

First Page

182

Last Page

200

ISSN

0964-4016

DOI

10.1080/09644010802682551

Keywords

CSR, GRI, information disclosure, institutional entrepreneurship, sustainability reporting

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