I’ll be at the 5th Global GRI Conference in Amsterdam, having a great time.
An example of new territories, I think, is the way GRI has been advancing sustainability reporting with SMEs in large company supply chains in the GRI Business Transparency Program funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). In 2014, 14 SMEs in India took part and their G4 reports can be viewed in the GRI Sustainability Disclosure database. In 2015, a further 14 SMEs in the supply chain of Arçelik, a Turkish household appliances manufacturer, took part in the program and are expected to publish first reports in due course. Of course, as we all know, the value of reporting is at least as much in the process as in the words on the pages of a published report, and I expect these SMEs should be deriving great value from this program. Which brings me back to the conference….
Empowering sustainable decisions. That’s the new GRI strategy tag-line and the 2016 conference will create room for exploration of what this means and for whom. The tag-line needs be translated into tangible and practical actions that deliver sustainable outcomes that we can measure and replicate. To help us do all of that, GRI 2016 offers four plenary sessions – you can read about these in the conference flyer – and hey, check out who’s quoted! (If I had known my feedback would be included, I would have included “Hi Mom” at the end).
Also at the 2016 conference, GRI is providing a platform for sustainability service providers to deliver master classes (14 options, fees per 3-hour class in addition to conference registration). I was thinking of offering a master class in the art of ice cream consumption but I wasn’t sure if everyone would agree to bring the ice cream.
Earlier this week, I had a chat with Rashmi van de Loenhorst, GRI’s Director of Marketing & Communications. She told me: “This conference will bring together a wide diversity of delegates interested in reporting and the value of reporting to empower decision-making. It’s a vehicle through which we can help drive change – we want to acknowledge the good things that have been achieved but also encourage difficult conversations about what needs to change. It’s not a conference about G4 – there is no single session about how to use the G4 guidelines – rather, with this conference we want to focus more on how we leverage the value created through the reporting process as an even more effective catalyst for collaboration and progress. We’ll be doing some interesting new things at the conference – a hackathon, for example to explore how we can be part of a new movement for using sustainability data in a different way, and what is meant by by “data is a platform” and how we can demonstrate that.”
I am looking forward to meeting up with loads and loads of CSR Reporting Blog readers at #GRI2016 in Amsterdam next May. By that time, I hope to have worked out what a hackathon actually is …..
Elaine Cohen is a CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional an Ice Cream Addict! Author of Understanding G4: the Concise guide to Next Generation Sustainability Reporting AND Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: Competitive Advantage Through Transparency AND CSR for HR: A necessary Partnership for Advancing Responsible Business Practices. You can follow her on Twitter @elainecohen