Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ceres conference day 3: questions, questions and more questions on G3

Its the final day of the annual Ceres conference here in Boston and I just finished my morning session for about 100 participants on the in's and out's of the new G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.

I walked the group through an overview of the development process behind the G3, and then pointed out the main innovations and new things to look for in the G3 (versus the earlier 2002 release of the Guidelines). I highlighted the new action-oriented reporting principles - with a focus on the principle of materiality. I also outlined the boundary setting guidance, as this can be a tricky question for larger and more complex companies. Then I went into the standard disclosures section and outlined the new profile disclosure on strategy and analysis, the new disclosure on management approach system, and finally ended on an overview the state of the performance reporting indicators.

Of great interest to the audience was the new economic indicator on "financial risk of climate change" - I must admit that through this blog I have been mis-representing the Ceres conference slightly as I am only covering reporting-related topics, but the main focus here is on climate change - so there was no surprise that this particular indicator caused a stir in the audience.

The audience was interested in questions on the new application levels system, on what GRI says about frequency and medium of reporting, why reporting is slow to gain traction in the USA, what new opportunities does XBRL present for reporting, and how is GRI going to move sustainability reporting somewhat closer to financial reporting and build bridges between the two types of standards.

All in all a great session. I can't thank Ceres staff person Anne Kelly enough for pulling the session together and offering all participants a champaign and orange juice refreshment for showing up at the early hour (it was a breakfast session!).

If you are interested in listening to the G3 briefing download the podcast here:

More final reflections on the Ceres conference tomorrow.

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