Has GRI Reporting declined by up to 30% in US?


Hiding in plain sight: the (incomplete, Jan 2012) numbers of GRI reporters show a nearly 30% decline from 2010 to 2011.  And GRI started counting non-GRI reporters.

I used to love GRI’s old global reporting spreadsheet. It included a listing of GRI-type reports which came to the attention of GRI. CSR nerds like me were able to dive into that table, slice and dice it and generate some blogs. In my case, some of these ranked among my most popular blog entries (see also my ‘2011 Top 10 Lists').

I find the new d-base systems less useful for my blogging practice. But today, courtesy of GRI USA Focal Point, GRI's Organizational Stakeholders in the US like me received the North American GRI Reporter's List. It is dated Jan 2012 and will still be updated until March 2012 before GRI calls its count for 2011 final. But not able to wait until April for this blog, I simply had to put aside "my" international arbitration case which is before the International Centre for Settlement for Investment Disputes (ICSID) for a few minutes and start slicing and dicing the spreadsheet.

Imagine my shock when I noted that the stats for GRI reporting in the US had declined from 2010 to 2011 by about 20% compared to 2010 numbers! My immediate reaction: let’s do the numbers again and make sure there are no mistakes. So, I took another look at the spreadsheet. And I found my mistake: I overlooked that GRI had included 11 reports marked as ‘non-GRI’ reports into the 2011 table for the US (see list/links copied further below). So eliminating these non-GRI reports from the GRI reporting list, the decline in GRI ('compliant') reporting in the US would actually be nearly 30%.

But this is not all bad news. First, GRI has not finished counting yet and - with the help of its Data Partners - continues to uncover 2011 GRI-type reports and expects to do so until March/April 2012.  The other part of this story is that GRI is clearly recognizing the challenge it is facing in the critical US market. The US Focal Point was set up and continues to gear up with more staff (warm welcome also to Marjella Alma). Also, the GRI-certified training programs continues to churn out GRI-certified consultants in the US (and elsewhere) eager to support budding sustainability reporters in need of assistance.

What are your thoughts on the reason for the apparent decline in GRI reporting statistics in the US in 2011 - assuming this stay correct when all sheep are counted by March 2011? Also, do you think GRI is correct in starting to list and count non-GRI reporters?  After all, some (many?) of them are taking their cue from the GRI framework or, like Apple, are even promoting GRI indexing/protocols among their supply chain. 

List of Non-GRI reporters in the US included in the GRI reporting list for 2011


Title of Report


Amway Global Citizenship Report 2010


Apple 2011 Progress Report


Caterpillar Sustainability Report


Clover Technologies Sustainability report


Huawei North America Corporate Social Responsibility Report


Inter-American Development Bank Sustainability Report 2010

Financial Services

Mohawk Sustainabilty report


Sun Chemical Sustainability report


The Carlyle Group Corporate Citizenship 2010

Financial Services

Tyson Foods Informe de responsabilidad social 2010

Food and Beverage Products

Verizon Communications 2010 Sustainability Report


NOTE: 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 analysis

About the author: Mehrdad Nazari (MBA, MSc, LEAD Fellow) is a Corporate Responsibility, GRI & ESIA Advisor, and Director of Prizma. He was previously an environmental consultant with Dames & Moore (now URS), Principal Environmental Specialist at the European Bank and CSR Research Director at CoreRatings (now DNV). In addition to his advisory practice, Mehrdad has delivered over 20 short courses on IFC Performance Standards, Equator Principles and GRI’s sustainability reporting framework. Access Prizma’s latest newsletters here.

3 Comments to Has GRI Reporting declined by up to 30% in US?

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