“Today, information from the sustainability reporting process is being used in more ways than ever before, to increase transparency and build trust in businesses and governments,” GRI’s Chief Executive Michael Meehan explains. Currently, the GRI guidelines for sustainability reporting are used by thousands of organizations all over the world. However, only a few of them move beyond the report and use the materiality analyses as an effective instrument to reveal where they can add value to both society as for their own business. Since reporting is not a goal in itself, but merely a way to build a transparent understanding of the organizations activities. GRI now recognizes that the real value comes from capturing the opportunities that are revealed in the materiality matrix: ranging from eco efficiency, access to SRI capital, to innovation and engagement of stakeholders.
A transition from securing the license to operate towards sustainable value creation is in progress. GRI understands that sustainability policies and reporting standards should be considered as the first steps in the process. They recognize that the development of sustainability doesn’t stop at reporting. GRI has declared four key priorities for its new strategy:
The importance of a well balanced materiality matrix that not only covers business risks, but that also can be used as a driver for innovation is being labeld by GRI as 'moving beyond reporting', Basically it all starts with a solid analysis of which sustainability topics are most relevant for both external stakeholders as well as the impact on the business.
Finch & Beak has already put this way of thinking into practice and launched GLOBE-US in 2012, a process approach that is co-developed with Alexander Osterwalder, creator of the celebrated Business Model Canvas. In seven steps GLOBE-US guides a company from the determination of its existing business model, to the assessment of materialities towards value creation based on eco-efficiency, stakeholder engagement and innovation. Since its introduction, GLOBE-US has been applied in multiple international settings varying from Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B) in different industries, such as Pharmaceuticals, Food, Agribusiness, Oil & Gas Storage and Telecom.
Check out our video in this article to see how GLOBE-US could work for you or read our latest article on INSEAD's Knowledge Blog - The Leadership Journey, where the practical case of the Belgian telecom company Telenet on 'Steering Clear of the Sustainability Reporting Trap' is being explained. If you have any remaining questions or when you would like to receive additional information, you are more than welcome to contact Nikkie Vinke, Senior Consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +31 6 28 02 18 80.
Image source: Flickr, Torbakhopper