Sustainability reports are often narrative heavy. By which we mean that they incorporate significant amounts of description and explanation that appear as multiple paragraphs of text. Often different sentences or paragraphs are answering different questions. Sometimes the same paragraph answers two different questions. Sometimes several paragraphs are needed to answer one question.

With inline XBRL, you can mark (tag) exactly the bits of narrative in a report that answer a question (i.e.: a the text relates to a specific taxonomy concept). This makes it easy for a user to reliably find the answer to the question rather than having to hunt through pages of narrative. It also allows the preparer and auditor to easily confirm that a particular question has had an answer supplied and that the answer is as expected.

Please note that the SIG members agree that the use of so-called “nested” tags as shown in the example below are likely to be much more common amongst sustainability disclosures than they have been within financial disclosures.


Narrative disclosures (text rather than numbers) can be tagged so that information is machine extractable as well as human readable. Those tags can be nested. An example with two different tags (blue dotted highlight is one tag, blue solid highlight is another tag):

An XBRL viewer can then show the taxonomy details relating to the tag:


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