Friday, August 7, 2009

GRI Reporters: Growing but still a minority

The latest numbers from the Global Reporting Initiative show that while GRI Reporters are increasing at a rapid pace, the total numbers are still extremely small. “If sustainability data was just something that was ‘nice to know’ about a company - providing niche investors with data for short-term investment decisions or helping employees feel good about their company - then this wouldn’t be so much of a problem. However this information is more important than that. As we face a sustainability crisis that could ultimately even threaten our very existence as a species, we need to know how our companies are positioned to rise to the challenges, provide solutions and adapt to coming changes,” said GRI Chief Executive Ernst Ligteringen.

The GRI G3 Guidelines set out the principles and indicators that organizations can use to measure and report their economic, environmental, and social performance. The Board of Directors of the Global Reporting Initiative this year issued the Amsterdam Declaration on Transparency and Reporting in which they called on governments to introduce policy requiring companies to either report on their sustainability performance or explain why they won’t.

Canadian companies may need that kind of encouragement, given that there are 1503 companies listed on the TSX, a scant 36 of which are GRI reporters. However, compared to other countries, our GRI performance is not too bad, with Canada ranking tenth in terms of number of companies filing GRI reports.

The introduction of LEAD Canada as a provider of GRI training may also speed the process. Since being selected as a provider of GRI training in mid 2008, LEAD Canada has delivered 10 courses across Canada, with a full schedule ahead. In July the GRI announced that 1000 people had now attended a GRI Certified Training Program, a further portent of growth.

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