Canada’s GRI reporting in 2011 appears on par with 2010

Although 2011 GRI reporting in the US seems to be trailing by nearly 30% from 2010, Canada’s numbers remain largely on par. But has push by government and PDAC been effective?

Earlier this week, I reviewed a January 2012 GRI spreadsheet which listed sustainability reporters for North America. GRI had sent this spreadsheet to its Organizational Stakeholders in the US (and presumably Mexico and Canada). I blogged about my shock about the apparent decline in the number of GRI reporting in the US after reviewing that table here.

While the GRI’s stats for the US may still improve if GRI follows last year’s practice of adding reports published in Q1/2012 to its spreadsheet of reports published (?) in 2011, this still suggests that Canada’s GRI reporting trend has not experienced any real decline – apparent or otherwise.

As shown in the table above, 39 Canadian organization produced a GRI-type report in 2010 compared to 37 GRI-type reports registered for 2011. About half of these belong to the mining and financial sectors (and I have had the pleasure of assisting a few inaugural and repeat-reporters in Canada with their efforts).

However, there may be some course for concern even for Canada’s GRI reporting performance. The (modest) numbers of reports do not seem to fully reflect the push from the Canadian Government and various roundtables which embraced GRI reporting for important Canadian groups, particularly including the mining sector.

One of these important initiatives which comes to mind include PDAC's program to introduce the GRI (or perhaps something resembling ‘GRI Light’) to its membership (about which I blogged previously here). However, this initiative appears to be somewhat behind schedule and, from anecdotal feedback, may have only experienced a tepid response form PDAC’s average membership. These are not the mining majors who, in many cases, routinely generate high quality GRI-reports already. Also, I note that both MAC (Mining Association of Canada) and – most recently – PDAC, have lost their Directors for CSR/Sustainability.

Clearly, the GRI US Focal Point and other stakeholders have their work cut out to make the business case and find a way to promote – in a very pragmatic way -  first-time reporting. Once organizations have jumped that barrier, reporting becomes less scary, upsides become visible (including for M&A positioning) and misplaced worries about cost implications subside (about which I blogged here and here).

Any suggestions how best to convince inaugural Canadian reporters to take the plunge?

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.