Monday, May 20, 2013

Dr Sustainability en route to the GRI Conference

Dr. Sustainability is back in Europe, and this time, heading to the top sustainability event of the year, the GRI Conference. It's been a while since Dr. Sustainability was here.  As we all anticipate the news, the G4 revelation, the learning, discussion, debate, networking, inspiration, innovation, information and integration, and of course, the ice cream, Dr. Sustainability shares some thoughts about what she will be looking for from the GRI conference, in response to #CSR Reporting Blog reader questions.

Dear Dr. Sustainability:  What are your thoughts as you head to the GRI conference this year?
Dear Nosey:  As I head to the GRI Conference, I will be thinking about whether this event will go down in history as the conference that makes or breaks sustainability reporting. A lot is at stake. Will G4 be applauded or will it be stoned? Will anyone throw shoes at the speakers during the G4 launch, or will they throw flowers? I have packed a spare pair of  recycled ecofriendly sneakers and an inflatable tulip just in case.
Dear Dr. Sustainability:  What do you think will be the highlights of this year's conference?  
Dear Spotlight: I think the plenary room has the tallest ceilings so those lights will definitely be the high ones.
Dear Dr. Sustainability:  Do you think it is justified to have a full conference with people travelling from all over the world generating loads of carbon emissions and consuming endless resources? Wouldn't it be better to have a virtual conference? 
Dear Greenie: Yes, I tend to agree that the environmental impact of such a conference is enormous. But the problem with virtual conferences is that the experiences and outcomes are also virtual. Have you ever tried virtually eating an ice-cream? Believe me, it's not great.

Dear Dr. Sustainability:  Which of the speakers are you most looking forward to hearing?
Dear Listener: Actually, I am most looking forward to hearing Elaine Cohen, who is an ultra-interesting speaker and always has something provocative to say. But... err...ooops... ahem... Elaine is not on the list. Maybe provocative is not so good. Perhaps I will ask for my money back.  
Dear Dr. Sustainability:  Will you be tweeting #GRI2013 during the conference ?
Dear Tweep: Oh, of course. I have preprogrammed my smartphone with a set of useful acronyms to help tweeting go faster during the conference. I asked the GRI to add them to the GRI Conference App, but they haven't gotten around to that yet. In case you want to do the same, here they are:
  • IAHAWT: I am having a wonderful time
  • TISB: This is so boring
  • NIT4ABOPN: Now it's time for a bit of power networking.
  • G44E: G4 Forever
  • G4NW: G4 No Way
  • G4WGDIH: G4 will go down in history. (Think about it :)
  • WIGRISNTARQ: Why is GRI still not talking about reporting quality?
  • WTFISN: Who the f*** is speaking now?
  • WMUWTIO: Wake me up when this is over.
  • HMMTCYSMI1C: How many more times can you say materiality in one conference?
  • ITSAOIAC: Is this speaker asleep or in a coma?
  • TISAIASGIC: This is so amazing. I am so glad I came.
  • IIHIA1MTITIWGC: If I hear In Accordance one more time I think I will go crazy.
  • YIHGC: Yes, I have gone crazy.
  • DIHTR: Did I hear that right?
  • WTBOATS: Will this be over any time soon?
  • TITP2MATGRIC: This is the place to meet all the GRI celebs.
  • IJMAGRIC: I just met a GRI celeb.
  • AGASB: Anyone got a spare bicycle?
  • IIDAMNIWNAN: If I do any more networking, I will need another net.
  • CAMMATTU: Come and meet me at the Tweet-UP. (Wednesday May 22nd at 12:00 in the Internet corner.)
  • IWNFTC: I will never forget this conference.
  • IWWTWHTNGRIC: I wonder where they will hold the next GRI conference? :)
  • WTIC: Where's the ice-cream?
Dear Dr. Sustainability:  Do you think that the GRI Conference will go a long way to advance integrated reporting?
Dear Integrator: Well, there will be a lot of talk about integrated reporting, I am sure.  But I am not quite sure why. After all, integrated reporting is sustainability reporting without the sustainability, as in the following formula: IIRC + GRI = SR - S. Or to put it another way, integrated reporting is to sustainability reporting what a Magimix is to fruit salad. You get a smooth, uniform, totally interlinked and easy-flowing output but try to pick out a piece of banana and you don't stand a chance.  I have bought myself a pair of earphones which filter out all the sentences in the plenary speeches which contain the word integrated. This probably means I will hear about four lines in the first four hours. 
Dear Dr. Sustainability: How many of the 1,500 conference delegates to you expect to meet personally? 
Dear Networker: That's the wrong question. You should ask how many of the 1,500 conference delegates expect to meet me.  Of course, if you are referring to readers of the #CSR Reporting Blog, then the answer is all of them :)

Dear Dr. Sustainability: What is your reason for attending the GRI Conference this year?
Dear Curious:  Because there wasn't one last year.

Dear Dr. Sustainability: Do you plan to ask any tough questions at the plenary sessions?
Dear Ernst: There are no tough questions. There are only tough answers. I expect all my questions will be easy. For example: Now that G4 is done and dusted, when will G5 be developed?
Dear Dr. Sustainability: I have heard that the GRI is restricting lunches to one sandwich each, in order to make the conference more sustainable. Do you have a view on that?
Dear Foodie: I have no problem with that. As long as they make it a Rubik's Cubewich.

Dear Dr. Sustainability: Will you be offsetting your carbon emissions for your travel to the conference?
Dear Carbonperson: No. I won't be buying offsets. I will be selling them. I plan to walk to the conference with a solar panel hat on my head which will feed into the electricity grid that serves central Amsterdam. I will supply 0.5 surplus KWH each day of the conference and more if I go walking in the breaks.  In this way, I will probably be the most carbon positive delegate at the conference. Additionally, I have a plan to capture all the hot air that is likely to be generated in hundreds of speeches and conversations during three days of the conference program and funnel it into a compressor that will provide power for an entire city in Indonesia. 

Dear Dr. Sustainability: What message would you like to give to the conference organizers?
Dear Messenger: This is my message:  Have a great conference! 

Dear Dr. Sustainability: What message would you like to give to the conference delegates?
Dear Messenger 2: This is my message:  Have a great conference!

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, winning (CRRA'12) Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: Competitive Advantage Through Transparency AND CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices Contact me via   or via my business website   (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)

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