BRT’s 2011 Sustainability Report Dominated by GRI Reporters

The Business Roundtable recently published its 2011 Sustainability Report - Innovating Sustainability.  Can you guess what percentage of BRT member companies contributing to its Report are GRI reporters? And how many of these companies have a female CEO?

At first glance, readers may be disappointed to find that BRT’s report title does not match the content. The report is not about the ESG dimensions of the Business Roundtable. Similar to previous years, this publication comprises a collation of ‘feel good’ CEO statements provided by prominent members of the Business Roundtable.

The report is introduced by Michael Morris, the CEO of American Electric Power – a company which has adopted GRI’s sustainability reporting framework. And the last CEO statement is from Ursula Burns from Xerox, which is also a GRI reporter (the only other female CEO is Ellen Kullman of DuPont - also a GRI reporter).

A quick comparison of the companies featured in BRT’s report against GRI’s Report List (queried 20 April 2011) suggests that approximatly half (47%) follow GRI’s sustainability reporting guidelines. Given such a dominance of GRI reporters among the companies featured in BRT’s report, I found it surprising that a word search identified  only one CEO letter that actually refers to GRI (see Cognizant’s CEO letter on page 31 - but, unfortunately, I was unable to locate Cognizant's sustainability report on the web or on GRI's report list).

This year’s numbers are roughly in line with my review of BRT's 2010 report (see also my blog: A Little Secret – Sustainability Leadership at the Business Roundtable). The spreadsheet highlighting GRI reporters among companies featured in BRT’s 2011 report is attached here: GRI Reporters Featured in BRT's 2011 Sustainability Report. Corrections and comments welcome!

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 also a GRI-approved trainer on GRI's sustainability reporting framework and a licensed AA1000 Assurance Provider.