GRI Certified Consultant, Reporter or Trainer?

GRI Training Partners and participants of GRI-certified courses often wonder: what is the appropriate title or description they should use without getting GRI’s proverbial panties in a twist.

I collected my first experiences with GRI’s sensitivities associated with the use of its name and logo while developing the original GRI-certified training programs for LEAD Canada for the Canadian and the US regions. I continued to learn more about this sensitivity when attempting to post/advertise GRI-certified courses on GRI’s LinkedIn sites and co-deliver GRI-certified training sessions with the ISOS Group, another GRI Training Partner for the US region.

In general, it seems that there was (is?) limited dynamic support available from GRI to promote its own training franchise, even though it contributed about US$ 580,000 to GRI’s 2009/10 income. However, this seems to be changing. GRI has become much more active supporters. It has recognized the need to improve the value it offers to it network members, ranging from Organizational Stakeholder to GRI Training Partners.

But the sensitivities about the use of GRI's name and logo remains. Today, GRI issued an update of its expectations of the use of its name and logo to its GRI Training Partners/Trainers. The update also highlights the appropriate language that should be used by participants of GRI-certified courses. According to GRI, the following expressions should NOT be used: GRI Certified consultant/reporter/trainer. Instead, the langue GRI would like to see used is the following: “Successfully completed the GRI Certified Training Course”.

Do you think this is something that fits on a business card or is something you can easily integrate in your 'elevator pitch' to a prospective client? What use and misuses have you come across - or is this simply not a relevant issue when you go about your GRI reporting related activities?

PS - Or should GRI be really concerned about other issues, such as Center for Sustainable Organizations' (CSO) Public Plea to GRI to Enforce or Explain the use of the Sustainability Context in GRI-type reporting?

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. Access Prizma’s latest newsletters here.