GRI update june 2001

Source: GRI, 29 June 2001

A new update from GRI, the Global Reporting Initiative for sustainability reporting guidelines.
Governance and Institutionalisation

* Nominating Committee Finalised

The final two members of the Nominating Committee have been appointed. Pierre Sané is the Assistant Director General of Social Sciences and Human Rights of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); Aki Fujinuma, is President of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and Chairman of the International Forum for Accountancy Development (IFAD). For a complete listing of Nominating Committee members, which is responsible for appointing the first GRI Board of Directors, visit our website.

* Call for Nominations to the GRI Board of Directors

The Nominating Committee of the GRI invites nominations for individuals to serve on the first Board of Directors.
The Nominating Committee seeks nine (9) individuals committed to the GRI’s core mission: To elevate the quality and quantity of sustainability reporting worldwide through design and continual enhancement of a sustainability reporting framework using a multi-stakeholder, global consultation process.

The nomination process is open from 1 June to 15 September 2001. The Nominating Committee solicits nominations from individuals representing business, civil society, environmental, human rights, labour, accounting, research, investment, government, and other interested bodies. Readers are encouraged to disseminate this call for nominations among their networks.

Find detailed information on the nomination process, a Board of Directors description, timeline, nomination forms, and Board Member criteria on our website or contact us.

Comments on GRI Articles of Incorporation Draft Requested

Moving one step closer to the formation of a permanent institution, a draft copy of the proposed Articles of Incorporation for the GRI are now on the website. The draft is available in PDF format for public comment. We welcome your feedback by 15 August 2001.

Site Selection Update

In a letter to environment ministers worldwide, Dr. Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, will request replies from governments interested in hosting the permanent GRI Secretariat headquarters. Countries will be asked to submit a letter stating the potential financial or in-kind contributions they might offer. Responses will inform both a headquarters selection as well as 5-6 regional offices GRI expects to establish within the next 2-3 years. The Siting Working Group of the Steering Committee and Secretariat have identified key selection criteria. More information on the site selection process is available on our website.

Working Group Updates

* Measurement Working Group (MWG)
The Core MWG met in Delhi on 23-24 April, 2001. The meeting was held at India Habitat Centre, generously arranged by the Confederation of Indian Industry and hosted by the Centre for Science and Environment. At this meeting, workplans were developed for the MWG as a whole, for the three workstreams (environmental, social, and economic and integrated), and for the ten subgroups.
The ten subgroups are preparing for a key meeting in London on 19-20 September.

Note that to keep the process manageable, we are not able to add new members to the MWG subgroups at this time. However, Draft Recommendations from each of the subgroups will be posted for comment prior to the September meeting. We encourage you to visit the GRI website and comment on Draft Recommendations as they are posted.

* Verification Working Group (VWG)
The role of the VWG is to facilitate open discussions that will inform the overall vision and models for verifying sustainability reporting (SR).
The need for further development of SR verification models was expressed at the November 2000 Symposium. In response, the VWG has planned three regional multi-stakeholder consultative meetings on three continents between May and November 2001.

The first meeting was held in London, 11 May 2001. The meeting was attended by 33 participants, representing report makers, report users, and verifiers from nine European countries. Participants discussed the expectations, needs, goals and issues regarding verification of sustainability reports. The participants provided input to the GRI on the most useful role the GRI can play in advancing verification. Information from the London meeting, including the meeting agenda and summary will be posted on the website.

A second meeting is scheduled for Tokyo in July, and a third later in 2001 in North America. An intercontinental meeting will review progress from the three regional meetings, and plan a course of action for the VWG.

* Financial Services
In April 2001, the GRI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SPI-Finance 2001 Project (SPI). SPI seeks to develop for the financial services industry, standardised social performance indicators for measuring continual improvement and reporting to stakeholders.
The goal of the GRI – SPI collaboration is to develop, through a multi-stakeholder process, an industry-specific supplement that elicits information covering issues specific to the financial sector. The co-operation is intended to provide both a process model for GRI industry-specific partnerships in the future, as well as a supplement ready for release with the next version of the core Sustainability Reporting Guidelines in mid-2002.

As a partner in SPI, the GRI is providing strategic suggestions for stakeholders deemed critical to participate in this social indicator development process. Please contact us with any comments, queries or recommendations.

In a parallel development, GRI is negotiating an MOU with the UNEP Finance Initiative, Environmental Management and Reporting Working Group, to develop a GRI supplement covering environmental performance indicators.


* Questionnaire Distributed to Structured Feedback Companies

The Structured Feedback Process (SFP) is designed to elicit input on GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. In early June, the GRI Secretariat distributed a seven-page questionnaire to the 31 companies participating in the SFP. The questionnaire addresses such issues as the structure, content, clarity and practicality of the Guidelines, and their utility to external and internal stakeholders. Finally, the questionnaire asks for input to the Measurement Working Group (MWG) subgroups. The SFP feeds directly into the Guidelines revision process and the work of the MWG.
We invite any other company that has recently referenced, or is currently using, the Guidelines in preparing their sustainability report to respond to the questionnaire. Completed questionnaires should be submitted by 1 August 2001. The questionnaire and information on the SFP can be found on our website.

* New Companies Make Use of Guidelines
We have been informed that the following organisations have prepared reports that were influenced by the June 2000 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.
· Agilent Technologies, USA
· Asahi Kasei, Japan
· Nikko Securities/Asset Management, Japan
· Nutreco, Netherlands
· Scandinavian Airline Systems, Sweden
· Schenker-BTL, Sweden
· Shorebank, USA
· VAW Aluminium, Germany
· Waste Recycling Group, UK
· Yasuda Fire and Marine Insurance, Japan

Since following the Guidelines is entirely voluntary, companies are not obligated to inform GRI of adoption or use. However, to monitor GRI’s progress, and identify needs for GRI outreach and future Guidelines revisions, the Secretariat asks all such companies to inform the Secretariat of their use of the Guidelines. We are keeping a cumulative list of companies that state they considered the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines in preparing their reports.
* GRI on the Road

The GRI will be discussed extensively in South America in the coming months. We would like to thank our South American colleagues for kindly hosting upcoming events. The following GRI briefings and meetings are planned:

Buenos Aires, Argentina – 6-7 August, hosted by Consejo Emprasario Argentino para el Desarollo Sostenible
São Paulo, Brasil – 9-10 August, hosted by Instituto Ethos
The GRI was presented at the following events since the beginning of April:

CERES 2001 Conference: What is Global Citizenship? Atlanta, USA; 350 participants
OECD Forum 2001: Sustainable Development & the New Economy; Paris, France; 120 participants
American Petroleum Institute: Corporate Reporting of Environment, Health & Safety and Social Performance; Washington, USA; 75 Participants
MISTRA Foundation: Measuring and Communicating Sustainable Development; Stockholm, Sweden; 50 participants
World Environment Center Forum on Sustainability; New York, USA; 50 participants
Conference Board of Canada: Creating Value Through Environmental Performance; Toronto, Canada; 50 participants
Vanderbilt University: Corporate Environmental & Sustainability Reporting; Nashville, USA; 35 participants
9th & 10th Sessions of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development; New York, USA; 30 participants
Enterprises Pour l’Environnement; Paris, France; 25 participants