November 2002 update Global Reporting Initiative

Source: Global Reporting Initiative, 23 November 2002

The November 2002 update Global Reporting Initiative with:
* FINAL Call for Nominations for Stakeholder Council
* First Two Pilot Sector Supplements Released
* Review of Sustainability Reporting Costs
* Wanted: Your Issues and Perspectives
* Briefing in South Africa
* Mark Your Calendars 3rd International GRI Symposium
* More Organisations Use the Guidelines
FINAL Call for Nominations for Stakeholder Council

The GRI is pleased to announce that the open nomination process for the remaining 24 members of the first GRI Stakeholder Council has been extended to 25 November 2002. We encourage all of our GRI colleagues to submit nominations. The Stakeholder Council is a unique and key component of GRI governance. As a formal policy forum, the Stakeholder Council will debate key issues and advise the GRI Board of Directors. The Council also will play a role in Board selection. With the addition of 24 members, the Stakeholder Council will have 60 members, comprising balances of stakeholders and geographic regions. The initial 36 members of the Stakeholder Council were selected during the first nomination phase, which concluded in May 2002. At their first meeting in early December they will review nominations to fill the remaining slots. As balanced representation is crucial for the success of this multi-stakeholder body, we encourage nominations for professionals from regions under-represented amongst the first 36 Councillors. Those regions, with stakeholder constituency in brackets, are: Africa (business), Asia/Pacific (civil society), Latin America (mediating institutions) and West Asia (business and civil society). Please visit the GRI web site for more details on the Stakeholder Council and for a nomination form.

First Two Pilot Sector Supplements Released

November marked the release of GRIs first two pilot sector supplements—for the financial services and tour operators sectors. The GRI Guidelines contain the core indicators for sustainability reporting by all companies. Recognising that one size does not fit all, sector supplements are designed for use in combination with the Guidelines, to go beyond general sustainability issues and cover those issues and indicators specific to a particular sector. The two supplements were released as pilot versions to encourage testing, feedback, and continual improvement. Through feedback on these pilot supplements GRI will gain valuable experience on how to incorporate sector-specific issues into its broader reporting framework.

The United Nations Environment Programmes Tour Operators Initiative and GRI convened a multi-stakeholder working group to develop the Tour Operators Sector Supplement. More than 30 organisations—from civil society groups to trade unions, local tourism boards, suppliers, and tour operating companies—collaborated on the supplement. View the Tour Operators Sector Supplement and press release on-line.

Working within a project called SPI-Finance 2002, international banks, insurance companies, and others identified social performance indicators for use in public reporting by financial institutions. A large number of stakeholders, including labour and human rights organisations, religious groups, sustainability analysts, and business associations provided input into the project. View the Financial Services Sector Supplement and press release on-line.

Review of Sustainability Reporting Costs
A recently published article included an estimate of US$5 million to prepare a sustainability report based on the GRI Guidelines. To provide a more balanced estimate, the GRI Secretariat conducted research into the subject. Based on the limited cost studies available, reporting costs average less than US$500,000. However, the question is not cost alone, but benefit/cost ratios. Given that some 2,000 companies worldwide now voluntarily report on aspects of sustainability, one can only assume that such benefit/cost calculations are pointing to favourable expected returns on investment for those opting to publish sustainability reports. The interim study on reporting costs is available on the GRI website. GRI welcomes input from companies that are willing to share sustainability reporting cost/benefit figures.

Wanted: Your Issues and Perspectives
In response to ongoing inquiries from a range of stakeholders, and with a desire to further enhance dialogue on sustainability reporting issues, we have established a portion of the GRI web site as an interactive forum. We have seeded this page with issues frequently posed to the Secretariat and Board, along with perspectives on such issues. We invite interested parties to submit additional issues or questions for this forum. The GRI Secretariat will provide its perspective and urges others to do so as well. Sharing your perspectives is integral to making this a true dialogue, and to developing a deeper understanding of stakeholder views. Please send questions and comments to

Briefing in South Africa

Continuing its commitment to engaging southern African stakeholders, GRI held a briefing at the University of South Africa in November. The event brought together South African and international speakers and participants, representing leading businesses, non-governmental organisations, governments, labour, investors, and individuals committed to improving global environmental and social conditions through increased corporate accountability. The briefing provided an opportunity for GRI to consult with more than 200 southern African stakeholders to ensure that the Guidelines have applicability and acceptance in the region. The event also included the release for public comment of a draft resource document for corporate reporting on HIV/AIDS. See the event press release and HIV/AIDS resource document on the GRI website.

Mark Your Calendars 3rd International GRI Symposium

We have just set the date and place for GRIs 3rd International Symposium Amsterdam, The Netherlands on 8-9 July 2003. Agenda and registration details will be posted on the GRI website as they become available. Mark your calendars now! We are looking forward to seeing you in July.

More Organisations Use the Guidelines

We have been informed that the organisations listed below have prepared reports using the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. With the addition of Chile, Hungary, and Ireland, there are now reporters from 24 countries. By listing a company name GRI does not certify the reports conformance to the Guidelines.

In Accordance
· BHP Billiton (Australia)
· Budapest Power Plant Ltd. (Hungary)
· Musgrave Group (Ireland)

Other Reporters
· AVE (Spain)
· Aventis (France)
· British Broadcasting Corporation (United Kingdom)
· Codelco (Chile)
· Dow (USA)
· EDF (France)
· Endesa (Spain)
· GM (USA)
· HVB Group (Germany)
· Mitsubishi (Japan)
· Optus (Australia)
· Osaka Gas (Japan)
· Scottish & Newcastle (United Kingdom)
· Souza Cruz (Brazil)
· Sydney Water (Australia)
· Tall Poppies (New Zealand)
· Toshiba (Japan)
· Yamatake Group (Japan)
· Yokogawa Group (Japan)