World Bank adopts XBRL for 2014 Sustainability Review

GRI XBRLThe World Bank continues to lead the pack of multilateral financial institutions in sustainability reporting. Not resting on its laurels, the Bank is now also one of the first adopters of GRI’s XBRL, a tagging system to make reporting machine-readable. Will others follow? http://wp.me/p27qSt-Je

As I blogged in MDBs adopting GRI Framework, many of the major multilateral development banks (MDBs) have adopted the sustainability reporting framework of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). This provides an opportunity to – inter alia - produce more ‘recognizable’ sustainability and governance disclosures similar to those issued by other financial institutions which seek to improve the marketability of their financial products and services to investors.

Perhaps worth adding a footnote that, since 2008, the World Bank has raised over USD 7 billion equivalent in triple-A credit quality Green Bonds through 78 transactions and 18 currencies (see also here).

Green Bonds

I wonder how many ESG/SRI questionnaires the World Bank receives which seek to shoehorn its activities as a specialized UN agency and development bank into a model that was molded more for organizations which look like Coca Cola, GE or HSBC?

The World Bank first published a Sustainability Review in 2004. Two years ago, the Bank was one of the first institutions (and remains the only Multilateral Development Bank) to adopt the latest GRI sustainability reporting framework (GRI-G4). The World Bank’s Sustainability Review 2014 articulates how a large institution, located in 130 countries, tackled its goals - to eliminate poverty in a generation and boost shared prosperity for the poorest 40 percent in developing countries – sustainably.

In preparation of its 2014 reporting, the World Bank convened a stakeholder panel to validate the materiality approach underpinning its corporate responsibility reporting, about which I blogged here: Assisting World Bank with Sustainability Reporting Review Panel. These panel members were recruited from Bloomberg, Citi, Millennium Challenge Corporation, the World Resources Institute, and the World Bank Group. The panel’s opinion statement can be accessed here.

Most recently, the World Bank has joined only a handful of other GRI-reporters which have adopted GRI’s eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). Developed by GRI in collaboration with Deloitte, the GRI XBRL taxonomy is designed to make sustainability reporting machine readable. This, in turn, is expected to enable investors, auditors, and analysts to access and analyze information within sustainability reports (and associated other reporting and disclosure) faster and easier.

You can find the World Bank’s Sustainability Review 2014, published in accordance to Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and the associated GRI Index (PDF, XBRL, HTLM) documents at: http://crinfo.worldbank.org.

Do you think that GRI’s XBRL will be able to jump the chasm between early adopters, such as the World Bank, and the mainstream GRI reporters in the near future?

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