Sustainability leaders convene for a move beyond reports to build a transparent economy

Source: , 18 May 2016

Today, international sustainability standard setter GRI opened the first day of its 5th Global Conference, welcoming more than 1100 attendees from 77 countries and more than 200 speakers to the Dutch capital. With the theme “Empowering Sustainable Decisions” this year’s conference focuses on the next frontier of sustainability and disclosure, unlocking the full potential of sustainability reporting as a tool for transformational change. During the three-day conference, GRI will be scaling up its impact by announcing over a dozen new partnerships in sustainable development and technology and innovation.

In addition, GRI, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), KPMG International, and The Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa, will release the 4th edition of Carrots and Sticks, a public resource, which paints the most comprehensive picture of the global sustainability regulatory landscape. In the three years since the previous edition of the publication, the number of sustainability reporting instruments around the world has more than doubled, driven by strong growth in Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

The GRI Conference opens just days after the UK government’s Anti-Corruption Summit 2016, where, in response to the Panama Papers, a number of governments agreed to create public registers of true company ownership.

“The Panama Papers are yet another demonstration of how insufficient transparency erodes public confidence in business and governments. This loss of trust undermines the conditions needed for economic growth, and transparent and sustainable development practices and policies are required.” said GRI Chief Executive Michael Meehan. “For nearly two decades, GRI has developed reporting standards that increase transparency around critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights and corruption. The 5th Global Conference is all about creating the next era of corporate disclosure, where sustainability information promotes transparency, trust and confidence in the world’s companies, policies and economies.”

GRI is pleased to welcome the Right Honorable Desmond Swayne, the UK Minister of State at the Department for International Development, to the Global Conference. Minister Swayne will speak on ‘Innovation for Sustainable Development – The Role of Private Sector Collaboration’, during Thursday’s opening plenary. A number of notable sustainability leaders will also speak, including:

Lise Kingo, Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact

Paul Simpson, CEO, CDP

Jermyn Brooks, Chair of Business Advisory Board, Transparency International

Linda Kromjong, Secretary-General, International Organisation of Employers

Richard Howitt, Member of the European Parliament

Roel Nieuwencamp, Chair, OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct

Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General, Save the Children Sweden

Cameron Brooks, Director Public Sector, IBM Watson

Peter Blom, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Management, Triodos Bank Group

Bob Massie, President and CEO, New Economics Institute