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2017 in Review: A Poignant Year for GRI
This year has been challenging for sustainability in many respects, but there have also been exciting developments in the sustainability reporting landscape. In this short series, we look back at GRI’s efforts, and look into what 2018 has in store.
In June, former GRI Chief Executive Ernst Ligteringen sadly passed away. Ernst joined GRI in 2002, taking it from a project to an independent international organization with a solid governance structure and system. He was instrumental in establishing GRI’s leadership position in sustainability reporting with a balanced focus on economic, environmental, social and human rights issues. GRI’s current leadership and many other sustainability leaders paid tribute to Ernst, whose impact on reporting will not be forgotten.
The organization Ernst helped to build reached a landmark point in September, with its 20-year anniversary. It was a moment of reflection, and many within GRI’s network recounted stories and looked back at the organization’s history. A special anniversary website was created to showcase GRI’s impact in numbers, its work with governments, impact stories from companies using the GRI reporting framework, and videos highlighting GRI’s achievements.
It was also a time to look forward, and GRI’s Chief Executive Tim Mohin marked the anniversary with a call to action: “The first 20 years of GRI have been a phenomenal success, but the practice of sustainability reporting needs to evolve. The point of sustainability reporting is for companies to increase transparency around critical topics that stand in the way of progress towards a sustainable and inclusive global economy. To achieve this goal, we need far more organizations to disclose information on their sustainability impacts, and we need them to make their reporting more concise, consistent, current, comparable and also forward-looking. GRI is the global leader in sustainability disclosure and we see it as our responsibility to mobilize this transformation”.
2017 was a memorable year, in which many companies completed their first reports using the GRI Standards, and many were first introduced to non-financial reporting. There were disasters and challenges, tragedies and celebrations. But the opportunities 2017 has provided all point towards an exciting and impactful 2018.