Missing voices in GRI standards? Distinct material concerns of Latin American stakeholders revealed by COVID-19

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3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to explore the extent to which global reporting initiative (GRI) standards reflect the material concerns of stakeholders in developing countries, with particular reference to Latin America.

Design/methodology/approach: The main dataset was a sample of 120 media articles that discussed corporate conduct related to COVID-19 from both developing (Chile, Mexico and Peru) and developed (Australia, UK and the USA) countries. Concerns evident from those articles were compared and then mapped to applicable GRI standards to identify relevant disclosures and gaps. Findings were triangulated by drawing on two additional datasets: Latin American GRI-related academic literature (in Spanish) and submissions to GRI standards.

Findings: Media analysis reveals significant differences between developing and developed country concerns, as well as gaps in GRI disclosure requirements in relation to customers, labour standards and corporate interactions with non-government organisations and governments. Analysis of Latin American literature corroborates the concerns raised in media articles regarding employment. Additionally, it points out country-specific issues and calls for increased reporting of corruption. Analysis of the GRI standards development process reveals marked underrepresentation of developing countries, which may contribute to the observed deficiencies in the GRI standards.

Originality/value: This paper contributes to the (surprisingly rare) research concerning the quality of GRI standards and responds to calls for greater attention to developing countries in the SEA literature by showing that GRI standards may not fully meet the needs of users in the developing country context of Latin America. The paper also contributes to practice via specific recommendations for improvement to GRI standards and the standard-setting process and provides a summary of the key findings from Spanish-language Latin American literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)830-858
Number of pages29
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Volume36
Issue number3
Early online date12 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • Developing countries
  • Global reporting initiative
  • Latin America
  • Media
  • Stakeholders
  • Sustainability disclosure

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