Friday, June 08, 2007

From G3 to G8

Guest blogger: Debbie Dickinson

There’s been quite a buzz throughout the GRI network over the past two days, as the GRI was mentioned yesterday in the official results from the G8 summit in Germany.

You really can’t help but feel the momentum gaining when eight of the world’s most influential leaders join together and formally encourage organizations to use the GRI framework.

The organizing principle of this year’s G8 summit in Germany is “Growth and responsibility”. Yesterday afternoon featured a session on corporate responsibility and transparency and sustainable growth, in which the reference to GRI was made:

“The development of a consolidated set of principles and guidelines… would help ensue that the [mining] sector contributes to development while at the same time providing a clear and more predictable set of expectations for investors.” The G8 said. As a means to achieve such goals the G8 members said “We encourage mining sector companies to undertake regular reporting using inter alia the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework.”

As well as highlighting mining companies, G8 members also referenced GRI in relation to SMEs, investors and the contribution of transparency and good governance to sustainable development, especially in emerging economies. The GRI network has been something of a buzz since this G8 reference was made.

It strikes me how fast the agenda is changing. A few years ago, we were aiming for mainstream acceptance of sustainability reporting. Whilst challenges still lie ahead it’s nonetheless hugely encouraging to receive political backing and leverage from an international event of as significant as the G8 Summit. To imagine that corporate responsibility and transparent reporting is being linked with good investment and strong development outcomes in as high-profile arena as the G8 summit is a pretty strong indicator that the “old” ways of doing business really are fast becoming outdated. These ideas are some that the network has spent years evidencing – and sometimes on unresponsive ears.

That corporate responsibility and the GRI is amongst the G8 agenda of hard-hitting issues like climate change and African development (two of the major themes of the Summit) is also hopefully a strong signpost for the seriousness with which governments, companies, civil society and others respond to the issue now and in the future.

Perhaps the scale of momentum is causing the buzz through the network at the moment…

Check out the press release, and news story on this event. All the latest happening from the Summit can be found on the G8 2007 website.


Stephen said...

I'd like to congratulate the GRI -- the reference during the G8 summit is something that has been a long time coming. I for one am very impressed with the progress the GRI has made with getting buy-in's for a large number of major corporations. Of course there is always more work to be done, but good work so far. Keep it up.

Stephen Albinati

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