The GRI Year in Review 09/10

The GRI Year in Review 09/10

Nope, it's not a Sustainability Report (that's due later in 2011), but it is a comprehensive summary of what the GRI has been getting up to between July 2009 and June 2010. It's the GRI Year In Review Report for 2009/2010, released today.

The 09/10 year for the GRI was quite a memorable one which included the outstanding third GRI conference in Amsterdam in May 2010 (1,209 attendees, dubbed "the largest multi-stakeholder conference focusing on the role organizational transparency plays in achieving a sustainable global economy") at which the GRI declared its visionary goals including:

By 2015, all large and medium-size companies in OECD countries and large emerging economies should be required to report on their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance and, if they do not do so, to explain why; and by 2020, there should be a generally accepted and applied international standard which would effectively integrate financial and ESG reporting by all organizations.

Despite the fact that the achievement of these goals still seems light years away, and, let's face it, 2015 is right in front of our noses, the GRI has made considerable progress as the only global comprehensive sustainability reporting framework available, translated into 25 languages and increasing in uptake year on year. The GRI says that the data shows that more companies are having their sustainability reports assured, resulting in more accurate and trustworthy data and that statistics for 2010 reflect a global upwards trend in sustainability reporting, suggesting an increase in the use and awareness of GRI Guidelines. In 2010, 1,818 reports were recorded as using the GRI Framework (up 22% from 2009). The GRI recognizes that this does not include all sustainability reports which are estimated by CorporateRegister.com to reach close to 6,000 in 2010, but the GRI says that the GRI database and their Reports List which is freely downloadable is indicative of overall reporting trends.

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Elaine Cohen is the founding partner of Beyond Business Ltd (www.b-yond.biz/en), a social and environmental business consulting firm, specialising in CSR strategy and roadmap developent, implementation of CSR processes, reporting and assurance. We work globally with large corporate clients, SME's and non profits, offering a full range of CSR and sustainability expertise.