How many GRI reports will we see in 2011?

Inspired by a recent LinkedIn comment to guess the correct number of GRI reports for 2011, I decided to commit a $500 donation to the NGO of choice of the winning prediction.

Henrik Weinestedt noted on a GRI LinkedIn Group the following: “With 2011 around the corner, why not try predicting how many GRI reports will be on the reports list at the end of 2011. The list downloaded today [22 Dec 2010?] contains 1365 reports. I would be very happy to see a 20% increase (1638 reports), so my guesstimate is 1600. How many reports do You think will be on the same list in a year from now? (Although we all know that a high reporting quality is perhaps as, or more, important, the more organizations reporting the better!)” 

I like this game! Allow me to provide you with an incentive to make your prediction. I commit to donate $500 to an NGO selected by the person who registered his/her correct prediction on this blog. Here is how I propose to go about this and because its Xmas, you get a couple of votes!

In your comment to this blog, register your prediction of number of GRI reports for 2011. Please include also your favorite NGO (501c3 or similar please - so I can claim a tax deduction!). This would be your first vote.

Given that there may not be a correct prediction, I will use your second vote in favor of either the Fulbright Academy for Science & Technology (FAST) or LEAD (Leadership for Environment and Development) to help me decide which one of these two great NGOs should receive my voluntary $500 donation at the end of 2011.

The cut-off for registering your prediction will be the end of January 2011 (and please comment only once). The ‘correct number’ will be the number that matches the total number of reports recorded on GRI’s reporting list published on 15 December 2011 (or immediately thereafter).  This is not a lottery or betting scheme, it will be based on a simple, honor system – and I will make all, inlcuding the final decision.

Hope you decide to join this game - Happy Holidays!

[11 April 2011 Update: Please see als my related blog post  ]

25 Comments to How many GRI reports will we see in 2011?

  1. Great idea Mehrdad!

    As said on LinkedIn, my guess is 1600. I need to survey a preferred NGO but I think we can work that out later 🙂

    I also vote for FAST.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. elaine cohen says:

    Hello Merhdad, I can never resist a challenge! Certainly the reports list is growing year on year – it now weights 7.4 megabytes! The number of reports in previous years:
    2007 – 699
    2008 – 1094
    2009 – 1425 (as at Dec 28)
    We are seeing an increase of 400 reports per year, which would suggest the above estimate of 1600 is quite conservative.

    I would go for a much more ambitious estimate – and assuming the total figues includes “integrated” reports – my guess would be 2,750 reports for 2011.

    I believe the GRI has gained critical mass, and considering that over 4,000 reports are issued each year, and that more and more reports apply GRI guidelines, together with the big push of the GRI in the USA and in China, plus many new countries having issued regulatory reporting requirements, I optimistically expect a big jump.

    If I win, please route your donation to whoever you see fit!

    warm regards,elaine

  3. Thanks Henrik and Elaine for your predictions. I like your optimistic approach to this. Curious to hear from others with their predictions and rationale. Happy New Year, Mehrdad
    PS – the 2010 number was only 1364 by 22 Dec 2010, which suggests a decline: outlier due to recession?

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by elaine cohen. elaine cohen said: How many GRI #CSR reports will we see in 2011? via @AddThis #csr […]

  5. Merry Christmas! Vote 1: Habitat for Humanity. Vote 2: In 2011, I predict around 1800 reports will use the GRI framework to varying degrees. I will be curious to see how many of the South African reporters will use GRI – all listed SA companies are obliged to produce an integrated report in terms of the Johannesburg Stock Exchanges’s listing requirements for their financial years starting on or after 1 March 2010. Will the SA reporters see GRI as the ‘easiest’ entry framework for integrated reporting?

  6. Thanks for your bullish prediction, Helena. I noted your reference to reporting requirements and trends in South Africa. As you may know, conducts the most comprehensive annual review of South African reports and how they stack up against GRI’s G3 Guidelines. Their analysis coveres over 400 companies, including Cotlands (HIV/AIDS NGO), Impahla Clothing (a SMME supplier to PUMA), and other known, non-listed companies. You can download the pdf version of the 2010 report here.

  7. Hi Mehrdad,et. al.,
    Thanks for the mention of my annual research of GRI-based sustainability reports in South Africa…and the specific mention of the fact that it is THE most comprehensive assessment going.
    At present, ours is the only annual survey of ALL list companies (All Share Index, or ‘main bourse’) in ANY country, and assesses against all of the GRI G3 indicators (not including sector supplements).
    Nonetheless, I wish to offer predictions…an NGO…and a bit of commentary on the scope of your challenge.
    The prediction for ‘global’ 2010 reports will be roughly 2010 reports (if you catch my drift).
    The prediction for ‘South Africa’ will be roughly 120 reports.
    The NGO of choice is Cotlands…as it’s the longest running GRI-based reporter among NGOs anywhere in the world (currently on number 7…go to
    Please note that the cut-off date is a bit of a red herring, as most companies don’t report as per the calendar year.
    A company might have a 2011 report that is only published in 2012…because it’s financial year only ends within the final quarter of the calendar year.
    Thus, the comment above about there being a decrease in GRI-based reports as at 22 Dec 2010 is ‘inaccurate’, in that many 2010 reports won’t be published until the end of March, or later.
    Note: Most listed companies adhere to a 3 month reporting deadline…although some produce a sustainability report up to 9 months after the fact. Thus, a fair measure would be the number of 2010 reports as at the 30th of June 2011.
    You must also be careful where you obtain your stats from.
    You CANNOT trust the GRI’s database of reports.
    It’s inaccurate…incomplete…poorly vetted…and almost exclusively ‘reactive’ rather than ‘proactive’ in terms of its data collection, collation and/or analysis.
    I encourage anyone to download their Excel file and run a countif function to determine the number of reports per country, and to get a number anywhere near accurate.
    I also encourage anyone who happens to be inside the GRI to actually take the criticism I’ve offered constructively, and use it ‘constructively’.
    To get much more accurate and reliable data, the researcher MUST go to and use their database of reports.
    Finally, I wish to correct Helena on one important point.
    Although King III recommends GRI, it is NOT a requirement.
    Rather, all JSE-listed companies are expected to adhere to King III in an ‘apply or explain’ approach.
    Thus, listed companies are not ‘expected’ to produce a GRI-based report, but are rather ‘encouraged’ to do so.
    Also, one must understand the difference between ‘integrated reporting’ and ‘an integrated report’.
    Integrated reporting does not necessarily demand ‘one report’ as the current debate seems to be focussing on.
    Rather, it requires that companies depart from reporting financial performance in the absence of social and/or environmental performance.
    Moreover, it expects that systems and controls are in place to ensure that these latter two legs of the triple-bottom-line be given similar board and executive management attention, to the benefit of ALL stakeholders, not just shareholders.
    Nonetheless, it would be nice to see ‘one report’, but only when it can be produced in a meaningful way that does not include the clutter of immaterial information.
    I hope this is of some assistance.

  8. Many thanks for sharing your predictions and insights, Michael. I note your point about mismatch between ‘reporting year’ and ‘report disclosure year’. I will simply look at reports recorded in GRI’s database for 2011 and accept that many reports covering that year will not appear until much later in 2012. This ‘roll over’ issue is an annual occurrence and I will not be correcting for that for this game. Your point that GRI should improve database is well taken – and I am aware that GRI is working on this. I noted your recommendation for NGO recipient of funds – but will you provide me with one number for reports recorded in GRI’s database for 2011? Happy New Year!

  9. Steve Voien added this comment & prediction: “Hi Mehrdad, My sense is that a lot of companies are quietly at work on this, so I’m going to be optimistic and say an increase of 25% — 1706 to be exact. Favorite NGO: Pacific Institute, led by Peter Gleick. Happy New Year, Steve”

    Thanks for your prediction and comments, Steve. It seems that inaugural reporters are understandibly shy and may feel uncertain about the process and potential outcomes. – Will add this also to my blog. Happy New Year!

  10. […] About « How many GRI reports will we see in 2011? […]

  11. Ian Ward says:

    Thanks for the challenge and discussion Mehrdad. I expect a %30 increase in 2011 if the economy GRI’s efforts in China and the U.S. pay off and the recession’s effects continue to dissipate.

    The number could also be much higher but for the moment I think perceived instability is hampering growth.

    So I’ll go with 1775, with the African Institute for Corporate Citizenship being my first-choice NGO.
    Happy New Year!

  12. Many thanks, Ian. I noted your prediction and caviats. Interesting NGO choice – I did not know about this one. HNY

  13. Mark Brownlie says:

    First vote — Alberta EcotrustSecond vote — FAST
    Count guess — just for fun – 2,011

  14. Philip Chop says:

    My guess is 1590 for 2011.

    This is how I guess the figure (1390 (2009 figure)+200).

    I also notice that not all the reports in the GRI report
    list are in GRI format. There need to be more awareness and promotion by all relevant parties especially GRI-certified traning Partners.

    So far , I have conducted 2 round of GRI-certified training in Singapore under SGS Hong Kong (GRI-Certified Training Partner).

    Hopefully as more certified GRI training partner do more training and promotion, there will be more acceptance of sustainability reporting to GRI format.

    Best wishes to all.

    Philip Chop
    Senior Lead Auditor
    SGS SSC Singapore

  15. Hi Philip, I noted your prediction – and encouragement to promote reporting that is more consistent with GRI. Also, congrats on the courses delivered so far. May there be many more to come!

  16. […] – Predict correctly and gain $500 for your favorite NGO: How many GRI reports will we see in 2011? […]

  17. tamanna says:

    I predict habitat for humanity

  18. Khadeeja says:

    Captivating and contagious post, Mehrdad!

    I think the numbers are under-reported, the past year trends also seem unrealistically low – this could just be because my experiences make me positive (and I know the mounting ‘peer pressure’ towards GRI reporting).

    The catch will be accessing, as Michael also alludes to, that correct number. Given the data capturing limitations, my estimate would be north of 2,500 only for now. For this vote the first 501c3 that comes to mind is Helping Hands ( I like their ‘Recyle Your Charity – interest-free microfinancing program’ – and others too…

    I do not think the recession will create an absolute decrease in reporting, perhaps lower standards, poorer quality etc will result, but I do think the overall trend will increase, even if timidly.

    For Vote 2, I’d be happy to go with LEAD.

    Look forward to seeing the 2011 trend!

  19. Claire Lane says:

    Mehrded, thanks for pointing me to the contest! I played with some trend lines and averaged a guess between tossing out 2010 as an outlier (see comment from you above) or not.

    Guess: 1860
    501 c3: Partners in Health
    Vote #2 LEAD.

    Happy New Year! Hope the actual surpasses my guess.
    -Claire Lane

  20. Reynaldo Robles says:

    Good Morning Mehrded.

    my guess will be 1800 (little more than 25% increase).

    Happy New Year.

    Reynaldo Robles, Jr.

  21. […] an earlier blog, which was inspired by Henrik Weinestedt, I decided to expand his guessing game and commit a $500 […]

  22. Humphrey Lentsa says:

    my guess would be 2,800 reports for 2011

  23. Just a quick note to let you know that I have not forgotten about this blog entry and my wager. However, GRI has stopped posting its large spreadsheet. Any suggestions how we might get the numbers of GRI reporters around the world with a cut-off date of 15 December 2011? Or will I have more $$$ for eggnog over the holidays?

  24. […] How many GRI reports will we see in 2011? (2010/12/24) […]

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