IFC and GRI launch Good Practice Note to help companies achieve greater business value through sustainability reporting

Source: Global Reporting Initiative, 28 June 2010

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) today announced the launch of a joint publication that aims to make it easier and more profitable for companies in emerging markets to adopt sustainability reporting.
Entitled “Getting More Value out of Sustainability Reporting”, the Good Practice Note links GRI’s internationally recognized Framework for Sustainability Reporting and IFC’s Sustainability Framework, which includes Environmental and Social Performance Standards for private sector investment. The current version of the Good Practice Note is being released as a “Road Test” draft to solicit feedback from companies and stakeholders. The publication is available for download here.

The Good Practice Note emphasizes the value of integrating sustainability into core business strategy and management; a trend which is emerging as the new frontier for business competitiveness. It also responds to the pressing need for improvements in corporate transparency, both to restore trust in the private sector and to attract investment that is increasingly guided by environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.

A more strategic approach to sustainability and transparency will help companies in emerging markets improve their relationships with stakeholders and attract investors. It is also viewed as a management tool that can help companies identify operational efficiency improvements and innovation opportunities in their products and services.

Rachel Kyte, IFC Vice President for Business Advisory Services, said, “Good reporting is linked to corporate strategy. Deciding how to report and what to report helps focus a company’s efforts and resources on tackling the most important sustainability issues affecting its business.”

Ernst Ligteringen, Chief Executive of the Global Reporting Initiative, said “Sustainability reporting is important for companies in emerging markets, where credibility, transparency and the trust of stakeholders are so crucial to business success. The GRI Guidelines offer a consolidated framework, one international reporting language as it were, referencing the most important international standards of performance.”

The publication is aimed at:

• Corporate leaders seeking to promote an innovative and strategic approach to sustainability at the corporate level.

• Senior executives and managers looking to establish an effective internal system for the sustainability reporting process

• Corporate reporting teams that want to understand the links and alignment between the GRI and IFC frameworks, thereby structuring information more efficiently.

A final version of the Good Practice Note will be published in 2011, following completion of the current review and update of IFC’s Sustainability Framework (see www.ifc.org/policyreview) and the latest update of the GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework.