About Carrots & Sticks

This website contains information on sustainability reporting instruments including policy, regulation, guidance, frameworks and standards.

It is based on a report and associated research conducted jointly by KPMG International, GRI, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and The Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa (at the University of Stellenbosch Business School). The information in this database is based on research up to the end of April 2016.

You can download all Carrots & Sticks reports here:

A history of Carrots & Sticks:
The 2016 edition of the Carrots & Sticks report is the fourth in the series and marks the ten year anniversary of the project. Carrots & Sticks was first published in 2006 to provide an overview of trends in standards for sustainability reporting. The first edition covered standards in 19 countries, largely members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In 2016, the project covered 71 countries and territories and identified reporting instruments in 64 of those.

How the research was conducted:
The project partners conducted a review of the regulatory landscapes in 71 countries and territories: these were the top 60 economies by GDP – including most OECD countries – plus 11 additional countries which were either included in previous editions of Carrots & Sticks or where relevant reporting instruments were known to be in place (see countries GDP listing by World Bank at: http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/GDP-ranking-table)

The research identified key reporting instruments that either require or encourage organizations to report on or disclose information related to their sustainability performance. The initial research was based on the content of Carrots & Sticks 2013 and more recent information contained in GRI’s global database of sustainability reporting instruments. This was reviewed and expanded by sustainability professionals at KPMG member firms, with support from GRI Regional Hubs, the UN Global Compact and the other project partners.

The results in this database are for the 64 countries in which the researchers were able to identify some kind of sustainability reporting instrument.

If you would like to inform us of any sustainability reporting or disclosure instruments that are currently missing from the database, please do so using the form here.

A note on terminology:
By ‘reporting instruments’ we mean any instrument, mandatory or voluntary, that requires or encourages organizations to report on their sustainability performance.

We have considered a wide range of reporting instruments that either require or encourage organizations to report, or disclose, sustainability-related information. These instruments drive public reporting in many forms, for example in annual financial or sustainability reports, on websites, in documents submitted to a stock exchange for listing purposes, and in data published in response to questionnaires and specific regulations.

We use the terms ‘reporting instruments’ and ‘instruments’ throughout this website to describe instruments including the terms below. The use of the term ‘reporting’ throughout also refers to ‘disclosure’.

  • Regulation and policy: sustainability reporting requirements or expectations issued by governing bodies such as governments, financial regulators or stock exchanges. Such regulations may be mandatory or voluntary and in some cases may be on a ‘comply or explain’ basis
  • Self-regulation: reporting requirements or expectations issued by organizations to apply to their own communities or memberships. These would include, for example, instruments issued by industry organizations
  • Requirements, guidance or recommendations for public reporting on a single topic (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions) or by a specific sector (e.g. mining), provided the disclosure has to be made public
  • Voluntary guidelines and standards for sustainability reporting
  • Standards on sustainability assurance.

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