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The Amsterdam Declaration on Transparency and Reporting

Submitted by: Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Categories: Sustainability, Business Ethics

Posted: Mar 10, 2009 – 12:47 PM EST

 

Leaders from business, labor and civil society call on governments to demand greater transparency from companies in this time of crisis

AMSTERDAM, 10 March 2009 - Global leaders from business, labor and civil society today declared their belief that the lack of transparency in the existing system for corporate reporting has failed its stakeholders. In issuing The Amsterdam Declaration on Transparency and Reporting, Board Members of the Global Reporting Initiative called on governments to introduce policies requiring companies to address publicly environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.

The declaration states that the root causes of the current economic crisis would have been moderated by a global transparency and accountability system based on the exercise of due diligence and the public reporting of ESG performance. It calls on governments to take leadership in rebuilding a revitalized and resilient economic system through:

  • Introducing policy requiring companies to report on ESG factors or publicly explain why they have not done so.
  • Requiring ESG reporting by their public bodies – in particular: state owned companies, government pension funds and public investment agencies.
  • Integrating sustainability reporting within the emerging global financial regulatory framework being developed by leaders of the G20.
Professor Mervyn King, Chair of The Board of Directors at GRI, Chair of the UN Global Corporate Governance Committee and former Judge on the Supreme Court of South Africa said: "As we seek to rebuild our economic system following the financial crisis, transparency on economic, social and governance issues from our companies must be paramount. Regulators, financial markets, companies and civil society will need comprehensive information on which to assess strategic risks and opportunities."

The signatories to the declaration emphasize that the focus on the current financial crisis threatens to mask the sustainability crisis which itself poses an even greater risk to our economies and societies.

"Only through a new reporting model, which takes account of forward looking data, as well as previous corporate financial data, will we be able to work out how companies are positioned to meet these future challenges," added Ernst Ligteringen, Chief Executive of The Global Reporting Initiative.

Notes to Editors

1. Full text of The Amsterdam Declaration on Transparency and Reporting

We, The Board of The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) believe that the lack of transparency in the existing system for corporate reporting has failed its stakeholders. While we recognize that certain governments have shown leadership on corporate sustainability disclosure, we call on all governments to extend and strengthen the global regime of sustainability reporting. In particular, assumptions about the adequacy of voluntary reporting must be re-examined.

We, The Board of GRI, conclude that:

  • The root causes of the current economic crisis would have been moderated by a global transparency and accountability system based on the exercise of due diligence and the public reporting of environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.
  • The profound loss of trust in key institutions is best addressed by the adoption of a global reporting framework that enhances transparency and is informed by the legitimate interest of all key sectors of society.
  • A revitalized and resilient economic system will only be sustained if it accounts for the full costs and value of ESG activity.
Therefore the Board of GRI calls on governments to take leadership by:
  1. Introducing policy requiring companies to report on ESG factors or publicly explain why they have not done so.
  2. Requiring ESG reporting by their public bodies – in particular: state owned companies, government pension funds and public investment agencies.
  3. Integrating sustainability reporting within the emerging global financial regulatory framework being developed by leaders of the G20.
Beyond this we emphasize that the focus on the current financial crisis threatens to mask the century's defining sustainability crisis which itself poses an even greater risk to our economies and societies.

2. Signatories
The Board of Directors of the Global Reporting Initiative comprises: Prof. Mervyn King (Chair), Ms. Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, Mr. Ignasi Carreras, Mr. Kishor A. Chaukar, Mr. John Elkington, Ms. Denise Esdon, Mr. John Evans, Mr. Sean Harrigan, Mr. Ernst R. Ligteringen, Dr. Simon Longstaff, Mr. Herman Mulder, Mr. Kumi Naidoo, Mr. Peter Wong, Mr. Ricardo Young Silva.

3. About The Global Reporting Initiative
The Global Reporting Initiative has pioneered the development of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework and is committed to its continuous improvement and application worldwide. This framework sets out the principles and indicators that organizations can use to measure and report their economic, environmental, and social performance.
www.globalreporting.org

For more information, please contact:

Scott McAusland The Global Reporting Initiative
Phone: +31 20 531 00 34

For more from this organization:

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

 

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