Specifying data to report

This article outlines general guidelines for designing a taxonomy that facilitates collecting sustainability data.

Sustainability standards specify which data should be collected in sustainability reports. Sustainability standards differ between different regulatory bodies. The XBRL standard provides a common approach to enable collecting the data despite those differences.

Following these guidelines ensures the data you collect follows that common approach and enables collecting the data despite the differences between sustainability standards.

Regulators and standard setters should take the following into consideration:

  • Use an XBRL taxonomy to specify the data for collection.
    Learn more about available XBRL taxonomies

  • Avoid modifying a published taxonomy.
    Modifying a published taxonomy can cause previous reports created against that taxonomy to become invalid. If necessary, reuse taxonomy modules from other standards setters.

  • Use additional metadata to make the taxonomy more useful for analysis.

  • If you allow data preparers to extend their taxonomies, consider how to control and restrict their scope.
    Consider using a public, central registry for extension concepts. Extension taxonomies may be created by data preparers, or a standard setter using a taxonomy from a third party.
    Learn more about extending taxonomies

  • Consider using a public repository for submitted data.
    This approach supports data consumers by providing them with an authoritative and trustworthy source of sustainability reports. The repository enables data consumers to find either an organisation’s sustainability report or have the confidence that no such report exists.

  • Support more than one taxonomy version for data preparers to file against.
    For example, specify the preferred taxonomy version for reporting and specify other versions that are acceptable for entities fitting certain criteria.