Submitted by: Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
Posted: Mar 19, 2008 – 03:00 PM EST
March 19, 2008 - The City of Buenos Aires, China and Sweden have all recently announced steps towards sustainable and transparent business practice. All have taken a strong interest in sustainability reporting in their areas of influence.
International developments in the field will be discussed in detail at The Amsterdam Global Conference on Sustainability and Transparency (May 7-9 2008). Hosted by the Global Reporting Initiative and the City of Amsterdam, it is a gathering of over 1,000 stakeholders including reporting companies and those who read the reports.
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guideline is the most widely used framework for sustainability reporting, and its use has grown steadily since 2002. In total, over 1,500 companies have voluntarily declared their use of the GRI Guideline to produce a standalone report including sector leaders such as Barclays Bank, Rabobank, Royal Dutch Shell, Ford, Vodafone and Anglo American Plc.
The number of organizations grows each year as leaders seize on ways to demonstrate sustainability good practice and set targets for improvement. Of the Business Week Top 100 brands for 2007, seven of the top ten have prepared a voluntary sustainability report using GRI Guidelines.
Now, governments are taking notice of the global movement towards transparency and sustainability.
Leading by example, the Swedish Government announced that their 55 state-owned companies would file annual sustainability reports in accordance with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 guidelines from 2009. Maud Olofsson, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Energy, will be speaking about the decision at the GRI conference. On release of the measures she said that state-owned firms should be staying at the "leading edge" in sustainability performance.
Buenos Aires City Council passed a law requiring all companies with more than 300 employees and specified income levels to prepare a sustainability report in February 2008. Law 2594 includes the GRI as a standard appropriate for following the new regulation, with the details of implementation still to be defined.
The Chinese Government's Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASACs) issued a directive in early January for sustainability reporting by State-owned enterprises but are yet to specify a regime or framework for the companies to follow.
Mervyn King, Chairman of the GRI Board of Directors observed that "Whether mandated or voluntary, sustainability reporting in terms of a common global framework would give all stakeholders a shared platform for comparisons between corporations and enable them to make a more informed assessment about the economic value of a corporation."
In 2007, the GRI hosted the world's most in-depth survey of readers as part of their Readers' Choice Awards nominations process. The results garnered from over 2,200 responses will be presented in a special session at the conference with in-depth analysis of readers' survey results including segmented data from reader groups. GRI expects these results to influence the future of both voluntary and mandatory reporting.
The Chief Executive of GRI, Ernst Ligteringen speaking GRI's Amsterdam secretariat, commented that "Plenty of experts have been advising companies on sustainability reporting during the rise of corporate social responsibility. This year, GRI has gone to the readers to find out what they think.
"GRI has learnt a great deal about exactly how readers use the reports on behalf of our network of thousand of stakeholders, so much so that the theme of the Global Conference this year is The Readers' Verdict".
Other conference highlights include:
A full speaker list is available at www.amsterdamGRIconference.org
Dates: 7- 9 May 2008
Location: Amsterdam, Okura Hotel
Registrations: Visit www.amsterdamGRIconference.org
Journalists are welcome to attend the conference free of charge, after first registering for accreditation (one journalist per organization). Email Rebecca Short to be accredited - email@example.com.
The Global Reporting Initiative is a not for profit organization that provides guidance on sustainability reporting. The third version of GRI's reporting guidelines (G3) was released in 2006, following consultation with thousands of stakeholders from across business, investors, labor, accounting, and non-for-profit sectors.
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