Clearly, the previous spreadsheets – which may have relied too much on self-reporting (including media announcements) - were substantially underestimating the scale of sustainability reporting based on the GRI framework in the US. And my critical comments were perhaps premature and not based accurate data. As shown in one of GRI’s slides presented during the conference in St. Louis (inserted further above), the reporting count has jumped materially for the 2011 period just over the past few weeks.
A mid-April 2012 spreadsheet generated by the Governance & Accountability Institute (G&A), GRI’s Data Partner, had identified a total of 242 report entries for the US (all GRI versions, plus GRI referenced and non-GRI reports). The 2011 bar chart presented in GRI’s slide inserted in this blog shows a total of 343 reports (and counting continues).
My recent e-mail exchanges with GRI Focal Point US provided the explanation for this big jump. G&A conducted a more active search, including sifting through the list of S&P500. This process uncovered many more US-based reporters. This is good news.
During the delivery of GRI-certified courses, I sometimes caricature GRI reporters into two different groups. Following the publication of its report, the first group maintains a low profile and looks nervously at the phone. This group hopes nobody will call. In contrast, the second group, which is also staring at the phone, is getting increasingly angry. The members of this group wonder why the phone is not ringing off the hook with congratulatory messages, invitations to join SRI funds and skyrocketing sales.
Why do you think some sustainability reporters are – in effect - hiding by keeping such a low profile of their reporting efforts? I have sometimes wondered if showcasing best in class or award-winning reporters, often typified by major brands which have been on this journey for many years, intimidate newcomers (see Are Awards a Barrier to Sustainability Reporting?).
Were you hiding in the closet after your inaugural report? Or were you angry and disappointed because of very limited internal/external feedback? How did you change your approach during subsequent reporting cycles?