Monday, September 30, 2013

BrownFlynn GRI Conference.

On September 23rd and 24th Robert Morris University hosted a conference to allow individuals in the business community to gain G3, G3.1, and the recently released G4 certification for the Global Reporting Initiative's sustainability reporting standards. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a non-profit organization that promotes economic, environmental and social sustainability. GRI provides all companies and organizations with a comprehensive sustainability reporting framework that is widely used around the world.
Individuals from all over Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania attended this conference presented by BrownFlynn to not only gain the certifications, but to help their companies build a better sustainability report and appear more transparent. Also in attendance were faculty and students, the training not only allowed the students to get the GRI certifications, but also gave them the framework needed to help think about sustainability, and corporate/social responsibility more in depth.
Over 5,000 companies from many fields have generated 14,000+ GRI reports, and this number is expected to increase in the coming years. The aim of the GRI Guidelines is to assist reporting organisations and their stakeholders in articulating and understanding contributions of the organisation to sustainable development through their reports. According GRI the latest G4 standards are supposed to:
  • Offer guidance in a user-friendly way, so that new reporters can easily understand and use the Guidelines.
  • Improve the technical quality of the Guidelines’ content in order to eliminate ambiguities and differing interpretations – for the benefit of reporters and information users alike.
  • Harmonize as much as possible with other internationally accepted standards.
  • Improve guidance on identifying ‘material’ issues – from different stakeholders’ perspectives – to be included in sustainability reports.
  • Offer guidance on how to link the sustainability reporting process to the preparation of an Integrated Report aligned with the guidance to be developed by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).
According to the GRI sustainability reporting is, "...the capacity to endure, or be maintained – is based on performance in these four key areas.
An increasing number of companies and organizations want to make their operations sustainable. Establishing a sustainability reporting process helps them to set goals, measure performance, and manage change. A sustainability report is the key platform for communicating positive and negative sustainability impacts.
To produce a regular sustainability report, organizations set up a reporting cycle – a program of data collection, communication, and responses. This means that their sustainability performance is monitored on an ongoing basis. Data can be provided regularly to senior decision makers to shape company strategy and policy, and improve performance.
Sustainability reporting is therefore a vital step for managing change towards a sustainable global economy – one that combines long term profitability with social justice and environmental care."
As more and more companies compile these reports, they can see where they can better focus their energies and possibly get a competitive advantage over their rivals. Being sustainable is much more than an environmental way of thinking, it encompasses many more facets of the organization as whole to be more responsible to their stakeholders as a whole.
If you or your organization is interested in GRI certified training, please contact BrownFlynn or sign up to attend the following events:
Post by Ian Munroe

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