First 100 Days in Office

Alphabetsoup2 A CR leader under fire and the alphabet soup of standards organizations By the Editors He’s the new chief executive and his 100-day anniversary was fast approaching. Many miles from the familiar trappings of his hometown, he has uprooted his family and inherited all the successes—as well as the baggage—of preceding administrations. Yet despite having more power and influence than other world leaders, critics abound. No, this is not a story about the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Rather, the man experiencing a tumultuous honeymoon as CEO of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is Tim Mohin. Hired by the GRI’s board late last year, the longtime corporate responsibility practitioner and his wife moved from Austin, Texas, to the independent standards organization’s headquarters in Amsterdam in January. Comparisons to the Donald Trump election have been coming ever since. “I have yet to sign any executive orders,” Mohin chuckled during an interview at the annual conference of Ceres, the NGO that launched GRI in 1997.

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The ESG Factor: How non-financial performance reporting can build investor confidence

JohnDeRose headshot By John DeRose In the last three years, there has been an expanding role of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors in the decision-making of investors worldwide[1], according to Ernst & Young’s third Tomorrow’s Investment rules survey. At the crux of this year’s discussion was a simple question: “Is investor appetite for more integrated, predictable and strategic ESG disclosure being met by businesses?” This was a natural choice given how meaningful ESG analysis has become for institutional investors and the companies they follow. Consider a few of the recent headlines. In November 2016, Bloomberg Media declared, “Larry Fink Wants Companies to Talk More About the Future.”[2] In this case, the head of the world’s largest investment manager wrote to the CEOs of the S&P 500 companies and Europe’s largest corporations to extol the virtues of strong ESG performance and its effect on valuation.

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The Sustainable Future Looks Bright

shutterstock_424743475 Schneider Electric’s SVP of energy and sustainability services talks responsible reporting and the importance of transparency. By Steve Wilhite As a company that specializes in global energy management and automation—offering building and energy management systems, security controls, analytics, electrical utilities and renewables, industrial automation solutions, and data centers—Schneider Electric knows the importance of having a sustainable energy supply. One of its current goals is to build an ecosystem that helps customers reduce their own energy consumption by 30 percent through active energy efficiency and sustainability solutions. The company also helps its clients navigate their entire reporting process by determining the right framework to meet their goals, implementing productivity tools, and analyzing and verifying sustainability data—and 64 percent of their clients received an A or A- in this year’s CDP scores as a result.

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Opinion: GRI – The Enemy Of Good Reporting?

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 10.47.19 AM By Megan DeYoung Since the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) was founded in Boston in 1997, it has grown both in size and complexity. According to GRI's online database, just 12 pioneers filed reports using their simple G1 standard back in 1999.This year, more than 5,000 companies worldwide will use the standard for their non-financial reporting. Over the years, GRI guidance has become synonymous with rigorous, good practice for reporting. The wholesale application of these guidelines, however, has resulted in a sea of mundane reports that are increasingly difficult to differentiate between or that lack unique perspectives. So, when does a guide become a hindrance to innovation? Amid all the noise, what makes one's strategy—and performance report—stand out from those of its competitors? Why would anyone want to read it? The problem with standards like GRI is that they provide guide rails towards sameness. The same comment could be made about any standard, whether it be SASB or IIRC or CDP.

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Navigating The Voluntary Reporting Landscape: The Nation’s Largest Independent Power Producer Discusses Disclosure Strategy And Reporting

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 10.44.06 AM By Laurel Peacock It is an exciting time to be a sustainability practitioner, particularly in the energy industry. Working with a cross-functional team of subject matter experts to execute voluntary reporting isn't a simple process, but by setting and tracking against the best average targets for its operations, NRG Energy is executing its vision and holding itself publicly accountable. Companies cannot achieve goals that they don't set, and goals without action are meaningless. There is no single entity that can mitigate climate change, but as one of the nation's most carbon-intensive businesses- NRG is working to take a leadership role in making a difference; namely, by reducing its environmental impact while profitably growing the company. A few years ago, NRG began a science-based approach to developing carbon reduction targets, and thereby set what continue to be some of the industry's most aggressive goals. In addition to developing targets that would drive progress towards the IPCC 2º budget, NRG's executive sustainability steering committee strived to ensure that the company's goals - a 50 percent reduction by 2030 and a 90 percent reduction by 2050 - would be relevant and in-step with its growing clean energy investments and diverse fossil-fueled fleet.

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Differing Accents

Firms stateside, in Europe offer varied approaches to publishing their citizenship updates

By Iain McGhee

As in Europe, substantive reporting on non-financial issues emerged in the U.S. in the late 1980s. Early adopters were those industry sectors, such as oil and gas, chemical and utilities, already experiencing pressure from both regulators and activists. The first reports were typically "single-issue," most commonly focusing on environmental issues. Since the mid-1990s, reports have increasingly evolved into covering a variety of issues: including environmental but also social, community, ethics, and human rights. From the beginnings of reports with purely an environmental focus, the trend today is CSR and sustainability reporting. has been tracking the global development of environmental and CSR reporting since 1990. The data tell us that European and U.S. companies are responsible for 70 percent of all corporate non-financial reports produced.

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