Applying GRI Sustainability Reporting in the Water Sector: Evidences from an Italian Company

Alessia D’Andrea


Sustainability reporting is considered the most applicable and reliable tool for disclosing financial and non-financial information to stakeholders and a means for strengthening company credibility. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is the most common standard followed to implement and to develop sustainability reporting. Nevertheless, a few studies have focused on the real adoptability of the standard. The aim of the present study is to illustrate how GRI indicators could be applied and interpreted by managers of a water company to implement sustainability reporting. A single case study is developed to identify which factors could affect the standardized implementation of the G4 guidelines by a water utility company. The research was conducted in an Italian medium-sized enterprise, an entirely publicly owned joint-stock company under the in-house providing rules. Evidence from the case study was gathered through direct observation as well as semi-structured interviews and focus groups with the human resources responsible for the data collection. The research highlights that the process generated an internal validation of the practices carried out by the managers to achieve sustainable development. The case study presented shows that GRI Guidelines adoption is left to interpretation: certain practices and recommendations contained in the G4 implementation manual are, in fact, operationalized within the organization in consideration of the company’s activities and governance. The illustration of the case study may guide practitioners in the GRI implementation process in all sectors, especially in public utilities.

Full Text:



International Journal of Business Administration
ISSN 1923-4007(Print) ISSN 1923-4015(Online)


Copyright © Sciedu Press

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.