It’s Official: North American Relative GRI Reporting Grew by 1% in 2011

I have been teasing GRI about unclear definition of what constitutes a GRI report and the slow adoption/growth rate in the US/North America. The former has been corrected and the latter remains a reality.


In March 2012, I published a blog entry entitled Dilemma of GRI Reporting Stats in the US – Needs Grain of Salt? It contained a critical analysis of the way GRI reporting data was being classified. To prove the point, I invited readers to apply their interpretation and offered quotes/links to reporting by Apple, Cummins and Yum Brand.

I noted that GRI has now published its definition of what constitute a GRI report as follows: “A GRI report is defined as any form of sustainability report that has made use of the G3 or G3.1 Guidelines and contains a Content Index.” This looks crisp and clear to me!

GRI has also started to collect other forms of sustainability and integrated reports. These are classified as “Non-GRI” and “GRI-Referenced”. The latter refers to a report explicitly based on the GRI Guidelines but excludes a GRI Content Index. In terms of historical and forward-looking trends, I am not sure if GRI will be able to catch up with the rich database already available through

A recent publication by GRI that reviewed the statistics contained in GRI’s database for 2010 and 2011, highlighted that the relative reporting in North America (compared to other regions) grew only by1%. It would be interesting to drill down further and see how much of that can be attributed to Mexico, USA and Canada. Perhaps a topic for a future blog unless a reader of this blog can answer this question by commenting further below.

Overall, the US-based companies do not appear to pull their weight when normalizing GRI country statistics by various indicators like GDP, number of majors/listed companies etc. A look at the spreadsheet available from GRI’s Data Partner Governance & Accountability Institute shows that, in 2011, the US produced 186 GRI reports (GRI G3 or G3.1). This number suggests that many reports were reclassified from Non-GRI/GRI-Referenced to GRI-type or that a few dozen reports were added to the database for 2011 since my critical March 28, 2012 blog entry.

Are you surprised about the limited growth rate of GRI reporting in North America compared to other regions like Europe and Asia? What is your recommended 'magic bullet' to scale this up more quickly?


About the author: Mehrdad Nazari (MBA, MSc, LEAD Fellow) is a Corporate Responsibility, GRI & ESIA Advisor, and Director of Prizma. His most recent GRI reporting assignment involved Supporting ScottsMiracle-Gro with CR Reporting (see recommendation on LinkedIn here). Previous GRI-reporting related engagements included Lundin Mining Corp., Red Back Mining (now part of Kinross Gold), Fulbright Academy for Science & Technology, Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation and Gold Reserve Inc. Mehrdad 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 Spring 2012 newsletters here.

One Comment to It’s Official: North American Relative GRI Reporting Grew by 1% in 2011

  1. […] during the week leading up the conference seems like the perfect birthday present.In a recent blog (It’s Official: North American Relative GRI Reporting Grew by 1% in 2011), I criticized the relative slow growth of GRI reporting in the US. I also wondered about the approach […]

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