The World Bank uses new taxonomy for sustainability

Mon, 19/01/15

The World Bank, a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world, supplemented its web-based 2014 sustainability report with a stand-alone index of sustainability indicators tagged with the eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) taxonomy. You can find the Sustainability Review 2014, published in accordance to Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and the XBRL documents here.
The Taxonomy allows investors, auditors and analysts to access information within sustainability reports faster and easier. It also brings a rigor to Sustainability Reporting that has been missing to date.
“Tagging the GRI index to the XBRL taxonomy was like going through a third party assurance exercise,” said Monika Kumar, Environmental Specialist who coordinates the World Bank’s annual Sustainability Report. “The taxonomy forces you to respond to each element of the GRI indicator with precision. If the indicator is asking for response in units and you are providing percentage, then your response is incomplete.”
Developed by GRI in collaboration with Deloitte, the GRI taxonomy is one of the first for sustainability reporting. The World Bank response includes sustainability indicators specified under the Financial Sector supplement – also available as part of the XBRL Taxonomy.
“We continue to strive to be leaders in transparency, and this includes accurate reporting also on our sustainability indicators” said Cyril Muller, Vice President of WBG External and Corporate Relations. “XBRL tagging is an important validation of the robustness of our response to the GRI indicators, which helps us define the path towards a more standardized and complete report of our sustainability practices.”
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. The President of the institution, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, also announced a formal commitment to lead by example as it strives to achieve its goals in a sustainable manner. The commitment will be specified in a Corporate Sustainability Directive.
The World Bank first published a Sustainability Review in 2004 to increase transparency about the organization’s sustainability practices in response to demand from stakeholders. Two years ago, the Bank was one of the first institutions (and remains the only Multilateral Development Bank) to adopt the latest GRI framework (GRI-G4) and last year a stakeholder panel was convened to validate the materiality methodology supporting the report.