GRI Reporting Grows by 30% in USA and 50% in Canada

With over 450 new reports added to GRI’s database for 2010, it is time to present updated charts for Canada and the US. They show impressive growth rates, that these are different markets and that US reporters like to remain ‘Undeclared’.

Globally, GRI recorded a 22% increase of GRI-type sustainability reporting between 2009 and 2010. The increase in Canada and the USA has been even more impressive as shown below. GRI’s data suggests that, between 2009 and 2010, Canada has seen an increase in GRI reporting exceeding 50% while the increase of reporting in the US has approached 30%. We are even seeing some NGOs producing GRI reports (see also my blog here: Fulbright Academy joins NGO GRI Reporting Pioneers).

GRI Sustainability Reporting in Canada and USA Mar2011

GRI Reporting in Canada and USA

I presented a bar chart showing the global distribution of GRI Application Levels in a previous blog. Looking at % changes, there seems no obvious structural change in distribution of GRI Application Levels between 2009 and 2010, although there is a 2.5% reduction of reports categorized as ‘undeclared’. GRI’s data shows a disproportionate high level of A+ and C reporters in Canada. The former reflects the importance of the natural resource sector in Canada and veteran GRI reporters in that sector. Other A+ reporters come from the financial sector and telecoms.

Comparison of GRI Application Level Declarations in Canada, USA and the World

GRI Application Level Declaration in Canada, USA and the World

The US GRI reporiting data stands out in other ways. There is a disproportionally low percentage of assured reporting (particularly low level A+ and B+ reporting). Conversely, GRI’s data shows a very high percentage of B-level reporting  and an even higher percentage of ‘undeclared’ reporting. It seems too many reporters in the US are still behaving like the lion in the Wizard of Oz: they are searching for their courage to declare their Application Level...

How do you interpret these statistics?  Do you expect any major changes in 2011?

About the author: Mehrdad Nazari (MBA, MSc, LEAD Fellow) is a Corporate Responsibility, Sustainability Reporting & ESIA Advisor, and Director of Prizma. He was previously an environmental consultant with Dames & Moore, Principal Environmental Specialist at the EBRD and CSR Research Director at CoreRatings. Mehrdad is a GRI-approved trainer on GRI's sustainability reporting framework and a licensed AA1000 Assurance Provider.

8 Comments to GRI Reporting Grows by 30% in USA and 50% in Canada

  1. Andrew says:

    Also alarming is the USA’s low rate of external assurance when compared to the rest of the world. This would seem to indicate the lack of available assurance services, or low quality reporting. It’s possible that the latter is more likely, as 38% of US reports came in ‘undeclared’ as well.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Andrew. All good points. One other option I like to add: there may also be a concerns about costs/risks (and cost-benefit concerns) of procuring a proper assurance. Depending on level applied, they generally don’t come cheap. Also, many reporters may simply not have the required assurance readiness to justify such an effort.

  3. tamanna says:

    I think 2011 will see more positive change in the right direction..GRI will become more well known to those who don’t know about it, become less scary and cumbersome to those who do know it and overall more beneficial.

  4. […] About « GRI Reporting Grows by 30% in USA and 50% in Canada […]

  5. […] recently about the broader trends in GRI reporting and Application Levels in Canada and the USA here and here. GRI Reporting in Mining […]

  6. Thanks for your comments, Tammana. I share your expectations!

  7. […] Please visit updated stats discussed here: GRI Reporting Grows by 30% in USA and 50% in Canada […]

  8. […] Since my original blog, GRI has added many more reports to its database. GRI’s report list for the 2010 period has grown from 1,365 in late December 2010 to 1,839 reports by early April 2011! This shows that GRI continues to improve its data base. And it complicates the lives of those of us who like to analyze and chat about reporting trends (see also my blog:  GRI Reporting Grows by 30% in USA and 50% in Canada). […]

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