GRI at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) 2002, anticipated to be the largest United Nations convention to date, will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September 2002. At the Summit, GRI will showcase its partnerships in developing countries and utilise the opportunity presented by the assembly of government, business, labour and NGO leaders to broaden and deepen such partnerships. GRI activities at the Summit will include: a special event on 31 August featuring the Honourable Mervyn King, Chair of the South African King Committee on Corporate Governance; the formal introduction of the 2002 Guidelines, a series of events in conjunction with collaborating organisations, and a booth at the Ubuntu Village sustainable development best practices exhibition. For more information on GRI activities at the Summit please see the GRI events web page.
Sustainability Reporting Events Held in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Australia
GRI recently completed a series of Asia-Pacific events. The series began with a workshop for Hong Kong business, investor, and NGO organisations hosted by the Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA). For workshop proceedings please visit the ASrIA web site.
The “GRI in Asia” conference was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 16-19 July. Co-organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Environmental Protection Society Malaysia, and the GRI, the conference attracted 175 delegates from 16 countries in Southeast Asia, ranging from India to Hong Kong. Two days of plenary and breakout sessions were followed by half-day workshops from the report preparer and user perspectives. The conference generated lively discussion on: report verification, SME reporting, mandatory vs. voluntary reporting, and how best to further engage government, civil society, and business in the region. For more information on the conference, including downloadable versions of the presentations please see the KL conference web page.
Westpac Banking Corporation hosted a “Forum on Corporate Sustainability Reporting” on 22 July in Sydney, Australia. More than 100 participants attended. The CEOs of Westpac and WMC Ltd. shared their perspectives on the subject, as did 13 other speakers from business, consulting, academia, civil society, and GRI. Downloadable versions of the presentations are available on the Forum web page.
To capitalise on its first major outreach activities in the region, GRI Chair Dr. Judy Henderson, GRI Acting Chief Executive Dr. Allen White and other Secretariat representatives attended side meetings with government, stock exchange, and investment stakeholders in Hong Kong, Melbourne, and Sydney. GRI plans to continue developing broader stakeholder relationships in the Asia-Pacific region, and invites interested parties in the area to stay involved through working groups, and Individual and Organisational Stakeholder activities.
Guidelines Revisions Near Conclusion
Public feedback on the 1 April draft of the Guidelines generated comments from approximately 80 parties amounting to more than 300 pages. The Revisions Working Group assessed this input when it met in Amsterdam on 3-5 June. A new draft of the Guidelines was submitted to the GRI Board of Directors at its meeting on 20-21 June. The Board appointed a Guidelines Committee to make final decisions on the 2002 version of the Guidelines. The Committee has made additional modifications and plans on a release in time for the World Summit in Johannesburg.
GRI Welcomes EU Proposals on CSR
GRI welcomes proposals on corporate social responsibility issued by the European Commission in early July and offers the EC full cooperation in standardising corporate sustainability reporting. The GRI was active in the consultation process on the European Commission’s Green Paper on Corporate Social Responsibility and in the Round Table discussions that followed. The new communication from the Commission was drawn up after business, trade unions, consumers, the European Parliament, and a wide range of other organisations, institutions and individuals responded to the Green Paper.
“Triple bottom line reporting of economic, social, and environmental indicators is emerging as good practice,” the Commission says in its new communication. “However, a greater consensus on the type of information to be disclosed, the reporting format, the indicators used and the reliability of the evaluation and audit procedure would allow for a more meaningful benchmarking and communication of companies’ performance within particular sectors and for businesses of similar size. The Guidelines developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) are a good example of a set of guidelines for reporting which could be the base of such consensus.” (View press release)
Relocation of Secretariat to Amsterdam
Plans are proceeding smoothly to open GRI’s permanent Secretariat office in Amsterdam on or about 1 September 2002. Excellent co-operation from the city of Amsterdam and the Dutch government are facilitating the transition. Contact details for the new office will be announced shortly. In the near term, GRI will continue its North American presence in Boston while the Board develops a broader strategy for GRI representation in other regions.
More Organisations Release Sustainability Reports
We have been informed that the organisations listed below have prepared reports using the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. To our knowledge these are the first GRI-based reports from India, Poland, and Switzerland, and the first from an NGO (Environmental Management Institute).
Argyle Diamonds (Australia)
Environmental Management Institute EMI (Poland)
Rabobank Group (Netherlands)
Tata Steel (India)
Westpac Banking Corporation (Australia)