The purpose of this paper is to investigate the status quo of Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)-based sustainable public value (SPV) reporting by electric utilities. Furthermore, the study attempts to find out whether a stock exchange listing and/or a public ownership are positively associated with electric utilities reporting regarding their contributions to a sustainable development (SD) or not.
An empirical analysis of sustainability reports published by electric utilities from 28 different countries all over the world is carried out. The investigation is based on a documentary analysis of 83 GRI G4 reports.
The findings show that electric utilities coverage of GRI indicators of the electric utilities sector disclosures varies between, as well as within, the different categories of the GRI guidelines and that the coverage of sector-specific indicators is often lacking behind the general coverage rates. Furthermore, the study reveals that a stock exchange listing is positively associated with electric utilities GRI-based SPV reporting. In contrast, public ownership does not show a significant association.
Electric utilities have a significant influence on SD. They operate in a regulated environment that is targeted at utilizing electric utilities for economic and environmental public policy objectives. Against that background, the study discusses which issues of SPV creation are reported by electric utilities that use the GRI guidelines and therefore brings together the public value (PV) and the sustainability community.