Sustainability reporting compliance with the Global Reporting Initiative framework: An analysis of the worldwide healthcare sector

Małgorzata MACUDA
Université des Sciences Économiques et de Gestion de Poznań, Pologne
Département de la Comptabilité de Gestion


Purpose : The purpose of the paper is to investigate the compliance with the GRI Frame­work of sustainability reporting practices in the worldwide healthcare sector.

Design/methodology/approach : 2,440 sustainability reports published in 1999–2019 by 632 healthcare organisations worldwide were examined using a content analysis. A descrip­tive research methodology, including a literature review, was applied in order to address the stated purpose.

Findings : The results indicate that (1) the growing tendency of healthcare organisations to publish sustainability reports in line with the GRI Guidelines or the GRI Standards is noticed every year; (2) 68% of all 2,440 reports published by healthcare services and products organisations comply with the GRI Framework. Noticed trends concerning sustainability reporting compliance with the GRI Framework might provide a complete picture of non-financial disclosure practices in the worldwide healthcare sector. The paper offers interesting insights on sustainability reports that are the most common instruments used by organisations to provide accountability about the economic, environmental and social performance.

Originality/value : This research contributes to a growing literature on the standardization of sustainability reporting in the worldwide healthcare sector by providing an empirical view on the actual use of the GRI Framework. Research fills a research gap in the field of non-financial reporting practices of healthcare organisations from all over the world.

Keywords: sustainability reporting, non-financial reporting, sustainable reports, Global Reporting Initiative framework, healthcare organisations.

JEL classification : I1, M14, M41, Q56.