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GRI Reporting in US jumped by 100 to 350 for 2011

GRI Focal Point US celebrated its first birthday at its inaugural conference hosted at Saint Louis University’s John Cook School of Business. Uncovering 100 additional reporters in the US during the week leading up the conference seems like the perfect birthday present.In a recent blog (It’s Official: North American Relative GRI Reporting Grew by 1% in 2011), I criticized the relative slow growth of GRI reporting in the US. I also wondered about the approach taken to categorizing GRI reports. Some of it appeared to be bloating the list by adding reports classified as ‘Non GRI Reports’ to the GRI database (Dilemma of GRI Reporting Stats in the US – Needs Grain of Salt?).

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?

 

About the author: Mehrdad Nazari (MBA, MSc, LEAD Fellow) is a Corporate Responsibility, GRI & ESIA Advisor, and Director of Prizma. His most recent sustainability reporting assignment involved ScottsMiracle-Gro and Lundin Mining Corp.  Access Prizma’s Spring 2012 newsletters here.

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5 Responses to “GRI Reporting in US jumped by 100 to 350 for 2011”

  1. May 31st, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Ooops: GRI Reporting in USA Declined by 30% | PRIZMA says:

    [...] Please visit my May 2012 blog entry GRI Reporting in US jumped by 100 to 350 for 2011 for or a more up-to-date [...]

  2. July 27th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Executive Pay Transparency May Come to Global Reporting Initiative Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit says:

    [...] of reports originating there. GRI reporting in the US is growing like gangbusters, however, with 350 reports registered in 2011 compared to only 100 in 2010. That’s partly thanks to the attention and commitment of Mike Wallace, Director of [...]

  3. July 29th, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Executive Pay Transparency May Come to Global Reporting Initiative says:

    [...] of reports originating there. GRI reporting in the US is growing like gangbusters, however, with 350 reports registered in 2011 compared to only 100 in 2010. That’s partly thanks to the attention and commitment of Mike Wallace, Director of GRI’s Focal [...]

  4. July 31st, 2012 at 10:39 am

    La transparence en matière de rémunération des hauts dirigeants : Une initiative mondiale « Gouvernance | Jacques Grisé says:

    [...] of reports originating there. GRI reporting in the US is growing like gangbusters, however, with 350 reports registered in 2011 compared to only 100 in 2010. That’s partly thanks to the attention and commitment of Mike Wallace, Director of GRI’s Focal [...]

  5. August 28th, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Sustainability Reporting Assurance Trends in the US | PRIZMA says:

    […] As a niche ESIA and sustainability advisory practice which supports it clients to become more bankable, credible and sustainable, I remain fascinated by the peculiarities of the assurance market in the US. GRI’s recent publication, Trends in External Assurance of Sustainability Reports, highlights some of the unique elements of the US market. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p27qSt-Fo  GRI notes that more than 5,000 organizations in over 88 countries globally use GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Framework to publish sustainability reports. This includes 266 reports published by US-based reporters, a number which has more than doubled over the past five years (possibly mainly due to improved data capture as I blogged previously). […]

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