Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the approach to ESG, CSR, sustainable reporting and sustainable development? Evidence from Poland.
Keywords:Pandemic COVID-19, Sustainable reporting, ESG, CSR, GRI
Sustainable reporting has become a global trend in recent years. The information contained in sustainability reports is becoming an important tool for assessing the organization's activities by various stakeholder groups, such as shareholders, lenders, climate activists and government institutions. The globally accepted standard for sustainable reporting is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standard, used by both the world's largest organizations and smaller ones. As part of this article, a broad analysis of the sustainable reporting process in Polish organizations has been undertaken. The study used a survey addressed to representatives of Polish enterprises carried out in 2022-2023, as well as an analysis of available sustainability reports for 2017-2021. The study shows that the coronavirus pandemic did not adversely affect the implementation of sustainable development policies - organizations were able to adapt to the new economic realities without abandoning the implementation of previously adopted policies in the era of economic slowdown. At the same time, it was noted that the dissemination of the GRI standard may contribute to the standardization of the adopted responsible initiatives - organizations model their policies/initiatives on the activities of their competitors, and at the same time decide to report according to the GRI due to the presence of this standard among competitors. The study also allows us to conclude that despite the delays in the implementation of certain adopted sustainable policies, organizations did not abandon their implementation - they made delays in schedules and/or budget changes.