GRI Sustainability Reporting in the Public Sector
According to GRI, public agencies account for less than 2% of sustainability reporters in 2009. In addition to poor uptake, this may also indicate an inconsistent and outdated approach to classification based on ownership concepts instead of sustainability profile and performance.
I have no argument with GRI’s conclusion of its recent study entitled ‘
Here a few things which caught my eye. Take the BT Group – why is it classified as a Public Agency? BT Group’s main asset comprises the formally state owned British Telecommunication plc in the UK. By 1993, the UK Government had sold all its shareholding. The BT Group is now listed in London and New York stock exchanges. Regardless of ownership, would the sustainability and CSR risk and opportunity profile and related disclosure needs of a state owned and a publically held telecom not be very similar?
Let’s continue by looking at Canada Post, also on the 'Public Agency' list copied below. This organization is a so called ‘Crown Corporation,’ which signifies that it’s state-owned (for more detail see
But what made me really chuckle is the presence of only one entry under ‘Public Agency’ for China. There are almost 50 sustainability reports listed for China in GRI’s database. I wonder who owns and directs many of those organizations… - and wonder if the GRI study really looked at some of the more interesting questions surrounding the applicability and use of the sector supplement for public agencies.
PS: Dear GRI, thanks for maintaining and providing access to your data-base. It remains valuable, despite of some of its mistakes.
|City of Melbourne||Australia|
|Redland City Council||Australia|
|System State of the environment of Minas Gerais||Brazil|
|Société de transport de Montréal||Canada|
|Architectural Services Department||China|
|KED (Hellenic Public Real Estate Corporation)||Greece|
|Waitakere City Council||New Zealand|
|aT||Republic of Korea|
|EMC (Environmental Management Corporation)||Republic of Korea|
|KCSC||Republic of Korea|
|Korea Tourism Organization||Republic of Korea|
|Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry||United Arab Emirates|
|Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD)||United Arab Emirates|
|BT Group||United Kingdom|