Since the late 1990s, the independent international standards organisation the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has been helping businesses, governments and other organisations understand and communicate their impact on important sustainability issues, including the environment. Over the years, it has become more of a necessity for organisations to include the GRI guidelines in their environmental regulatory compliance reporting regimens as a means of demonstrating their concern about their environmental footprint and their efforts to lessen it.
Organisations are increasingly aware that as information about the environmental impact of their operations becomes public, it is noticed and read by a widening audience, which includes institutional investment groups. This helps operationalise environmental improvement, as it causes businesses to become self-aware and prioritise actions that produce both efficiencies and a positive image. At a government level, increased focus on environmental compliance management reporting helps shape policy and set targets, sometimes even with potential penalties serving to maintain focus on chosen parameters.