Thursday, July 22, 2010

GRI Stakeholder Council Elections 2010

Voting has now commenced for the Global Reporting Intiative Stakeholder Council elections. The first round of voting takes place from 21st July through to 8th September.

The Stakeholder Council   is the  GRI’s formal stakeholder policy forum, similar to a parliament, that debates and deliberates key strategic and policy issues. The SC meets annually and comprises a balance of stakeholder and geographic constituencies.Only GRI Organizational Stakeholders can vote in this election of members to the Stakeholder Council.

My nomination to be a member of the GRI Stakeholder council has been approved. This is what I wrote as my reason for wishing to be part of this important group at a time when the status and evolution of reporting is more critical than ever.

I am passionate about sustainability reporting and spend most of my professional time and much of my personal time reading, analysing, writing, conceptualizing, reviewing, publicizing, commenting on, voting for, thinking about, producing videos about and advising companies on sustainability reports :-)

The GRI framework is a leading light in sustainability reporting and has critically changed the reporting landscape . As an Organizational Stakeholder for the past several years, GRI Data Partner and attendee at GRI conferences and events, and contributor to the GRI blog, I always do what I can to support the GRI. Together with my business partner, whose initiative it was to translate the GRI guidelines into Hebrew in 2006, we wrote the first GRI G3 report in Israel for a large banking client, and have produced several GRI reports since then, effectively leading the GRI presence in the local market. We have held 3 annual (GRI) reporting conferences in Israel, all attended by a GRI team member, the only conference in Israel focusing on reporting and transparency. We produce a Transparency Index for our local market, analysing the CSR transparency of the top 100 public companies with methodology inspired by the GRI framework. I believe all this demonstrates my commitment to the continued success of the GRI.

Whilst I am committed and supportive, I am also critical. I have strong insights about reporting and the role of both the reporting process and the report itself, and how this should evolve. Whilst intuitively I support the notion of integrated reporting, I have strong reservations about how this can be developed in a way which is inclusive of all stakeholder interests , rather than focussing only on those who have a financial interest, and I would like to be involved in discussions leading the way integrated reporting will map out in future years. Whilst I see the need for robust assurance, I believe the current approach of the GRI on assurance is inadequate and would like to see changes made. There are many other areas in which I have a "supportively critical" view and believe I have much to contribute in a direct way, and indirectly through work I do to support reporting through all my various channels of interaction. I feel that my experience of the GRI framework and global mindset on sustainability will help me become a collaborative value-adding member of the Stakeholder Council. Thank you!
So here it comes: If you are a GRI Organizational Stakeholder, PLEASE vote for me !

elaine cohen is co-founder and co-CEO of Beyond Business, an inspired social and environmental consulting and reporting firm. Visit our website at

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