Submitted by: Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
Posted: Oct 01, 2007 – 10:29 AM EST
AMSTERDAM - October 1, 2007 - Thousands of companies issue sustainability reports each year, but who reads them and what do they think of them? As a way to capture the preferences of readers and to alert potential new readers to the value of sustainability information, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and its partners have pioneered the first non jury-based worldwide online sustainability reporting awards scheme. The GRI Readers' Choice Awards will be launched online today.
According to Mervyn E. King, Chair of the GRI Board of Directors, "The Awards will draw attention to the fact that sustainability reporting complements traditional reporting by offering shareholders and stakeholders' insight into sustainability as one of the most burning issues of our times."
"There are other award schemes out there, but all are jury based," says Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, former Director of UNEP's Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics. "This time companies will hear a verdict - but it will be straight from the mouths of their own stakeholders." Ms Larderel chairs the Awards Integrity Committee of prominent experts overseeing the design and implementation of the Awards system.
Roger Adams, Technical Director of ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), considers the GRI Readers' Choice Awards "a major factor in driving best practice in reporting worldwide." ACCA, one of the GRI Awards' main partners, runs it’s own and the most prestigious jury-based sustainability reporting awards schemes currently in existence.
KPMG and SustainAbility, the leading global sustainability reporting trend monitors, will conduct a survey in conjunction with the Awards and publish their cutting edge analysis of the results next year. "What's exciting for us is the opportunity to facilitate readers becoming real experts on sustainability reporting. That user feedback aspect makes this a totally new type of award program, and all the more likely to influence how companies report in the future," remarked Mark Lee, CEO of SustainAbility.
In addition to an Award for the report with the overall highest score, there will be Awards issued based on the perspectives of key information user communities such as investors, civil society, employees, corporate governance and management, and media; and special reports for non-corporate, smaller enterprises, and non-OECD companies. "Developing the methodology behind the scoring system was a unique challenge for us and the other partners involved" said Jose Luis Blasco, Director, Advisory, Global Sustainability Services, at KPMG. "We had to ensure the system would be a fair representation of report readers' perspectives, including GRI and non-GRI based reports."
Girish Ramachandran of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), one of the world's largest IT consultancy firms and GRI Awards partner, considers the Awards program "a worldwide communication tool for companies with their stakeholders." Ramachandran adds that the Awards "show that technical solutions can be of help in improving the sustainability of companies."
Both the Awards and the Survey results will be presented during 'The Amsterdam Global Conference on Sustainability and Transparency', which will be hosted by the City of Amsterdam, and is supported by the Netherlands Government, UNEP, and with the involvement of businesses, NGOs, labor, and investors active in GRI's worldwide network. GRI's second international conference will be held from 7 - 9 May 2008.
From 1 October 2007 you are invited to have your say on sustainability reporting today at http://awards.globalreporting.org.
The Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI) vision is that reporting on economic, environmental, and social performance by all organizations becomes as routine and comparable as financial reporting. GRI accomplishes this vision by developing, continually improving, and building capacity around the use of its Sustainability Reporting Framework. An international network of thousands from business, civil society, labor, and professional institutions create the content of the Reporting Framework in a consensus-seeking process. The GRI's Reporting Framework is largely seen as the global de facto standard in sustainability reporting.
About the GRI Readers' Choice Awards
The Awards have been made possible by partnerships with KPMG, ACCA, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), SustainAbility, and the United Nations Global Compact and sponsored by Rabobank and Acciona. The Awards program is overseen by a committee composed of the following prominent experts: Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel (GRI Board Member), Judy Kuszewski (SustainAbility), Roger Adams (ACCA), Herman Mulder (Senior Advisor to the United Nations Global Compact), Aditi Haldar (Confederation of Indian Industry), Giuseppe van der Helm (Netherlands Organization of Sustainable Investors), Cornis van der Lugt (UNEP), and Mario Manzoni (Center of Sustainability Studies, Brazil). Everyone is invited to select the sustainability reports of interest to them and score them using five criteria. The scoring period is open from 1 October 2007 until 31 December 2007. The Awards and an accompanying Survey Report will be issued at the May 2008 Conference.
About the Conference
The second Amsterdam Global Conference on Sustainability and Transparency will take place from 7-9 May 2008 and will host innovative and pro-actively moderated debates on strategic questions that will shape the future of sustainability reporting. The conference features the publication of cutting-edge research regarding sustainability report usage and the presentation of the GRI Readers' Choice Awards.
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