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.