Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why YOU HAVE to attend.......

..... the fourth annual Smarter Sustainability Reporting conference. It's on February 24th, 2015 in London.  It's THE annual conference all about sustainability reporting that I chair every year. No, it's not just for reporting geeks, though geeks are thoroughly welcome.

And the reason YOU HAVE to attend is that, for three years now, we have held these totally amazing, informative, content-rich, expertise-packed, opinion-forming, insight-generating, brain-cell-activating, networking-supporting conferences and we still do not have the answer to the question: What is Smarter Sustainability Reporting? We've debated, discussed, shared, chaired, talked, balked, asked, answered, thought, contemplated, ruminated, instigated, irritated, cajoled, encouraged, suggested, digested and just about everything else you do and don't do at conferences... and we still don't have a definitive answer. That's sad. We may have had an answer in the second conference, but then the world changed and we went back to the drawing board at conference three. At this, the fourth annual, we simply have to have an answer. Maybe YOU are the one who can help?

We have a great line-up of expert speakers and panelists - and still more to confirm.

  • Nelmara Arbex, Chief Advisor on Innovation in Reporting, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI
  • Sarah Grey, Markets Director, International Integrated Reporting Council, IIRC
  • Steve Kenzie, UK Network Secretariat, Global Compact Network
  • Simon Howard, Chief Executive Officer, UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF)
  • Dr. Paul Toyne, Sustainability Director, Balfour Beatty Construction Services
  • Louise Tyson, Head of Reporting, BP
  • Katie Buchanan, Head of Sustainability and Reporting, Virgin Media
  • Irene Jakobi, Sustainability Manager, Telekom Austria
  • Mardi McBrien, Managing Director, Carbon Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB)
  • Shaun Davis, Group Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing &  Sustainability, Royal Mail
  • Crystal Crawford, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Liberty Global
  • Verity Lawson, Sustainability Reporting Manager, British American Tobacco
  • Michaela Rose, Sustainability Advisor, Forum for the Future

You would think that these fantastic experts would have ALL the answers but I can promise YOU, they can't do it on their own. They need YOU.

How do YOU define Smarter Sustainability Reporting? What makes smart smarter? And what makes reporting reporting? From GRI G4 to integrated reports to carbon disclosures to investor interest to innovation to local/global to transparency, creativity and materiality and a whole lot more, we'll be looking to get at the answer that has been evading tens of speakers and hundreds of delegates since the start of our conference series. Do YOU know? Are YOU harboring a totally intelligent response that we are all waiting for? Are YOU willing to share? Will YOU come to the conference and enlighten all of us? 

If YOU decide to come and help us out, I can offer YOU a discount (being the chair has some privileges) and I can promise to be eternally grateful. And so will everybody else. YOUR presence and contribution is absolutely what will make the difference.

That's not to say that in three years of conferences we haven't answered other questions about reporting, the reporting landscape, trends, challenges, risks and opportunities. A mix of practitioner and subject-matter experts, we have always had rich debate and generated a host of action-oriented insights. The feedback from attendees has always been strong. Each conference has been remarkable. The desire to share and learn more about what's going on in reporting is obviously very much alive for both reporting geeks and reporting non-geeks. That's why we keep doing it. 

You may be wondering by now, what's the point of having a conference every year that can't answer its own question? I remember someone quoting some smart famous person who said: if you keep doing the same things, you keep getting the same results. Or something like that, probably more elegantly put. Which is exactly why we continue to shake things up every year. No two conferences are the same. We have a different agenda, different speakers, different round-table talk sessions, different panel discussions and different areas of focus. We don't keep doing the same things but we still don't have the answer to this really truly completely fully exceptionally elusive question: What is Smarter Sustainability Reporting? Obviously, we have been missing something. Yes. We have been missing YOU. So, please come. Please share. Please tell us YOUR answer. Please help make this conference even  more remarkable. 

So: Block out the date in your diary. Contact me for a 15% discount code. Register. Get prepared to share. And watch this space in the run-up to the conference for more posts in conversation with some of our speakers.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of Understanding G4: the Concise guide to Next Generation Sustainability Reporting  AND  Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: Competitive Advantage Through Transparency AND CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices . Contact me via Twitter (@elainecohen)  or via my business website   (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm).  Check out our G4 Report Expert Analysis Service - for published G4 reports or pre-publication - write to Elaine at to help make your G4 reporting  even better.   

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