Day 2 and 3 of the GRI conference 2010

Day 2 and 3 of the GRI conference where two days full of individual sessions about specific topics ranging from UNGC and the GRI to XBRL and Sustainability reporting and a plenary session to wrap it up. We as participants where able to pick and choose sessions we where most interested in. A really good plan after a long day of plenary presentations on Day 1. Identifying key themes was therefore quite difficult but I picked up three different themes during these two days that I wanted to share with everyone.

Key themes I came across on day 2 and 3 of the conference:

  • Stakeholder Engagement especially using Social Media is a difficult thing to get right. This became very clear during the session about the future of stakeholder engagement using interactive technology on Day 2. Here some participants and panelists including Joe Confino from the Guardian Newspaper, Martin Smith from JustMeans went head to head with the SAP representative on the question whether the latest SAP report was a step in the right direction for promote stakeholder engagement. A very heated but really interesting discussion. SAP was not on the panel but Jo Confino picked their latest report to show that sophisticated Sustainability reporting is not aways easy to do. I do not agree with Joe but he made some interesting points and so did the SAP representative. All in all proper stakeholder engagement.
  • Integrated reporting was also the topic over the last two days. I did not attend any sessions specifically about this but speaking to many people about the announcement of the GRI to fully support the adoption of integrated reporting it is very clear that the adoption of integrated reporting will be the next big goal of governance bodies and think tanks in this field. But I also got the feeling that financial and non financial accounting are very likely to be ‘forced’ to work together. I am still highly skeptical about the usefulness of integrated reporting but I am happy to be convinced that this is the way to go for the future.
  • The future is in our hands and the GRI needs to play a role in shaping this future. The plenary session to end the conference really asked the right question. Where do we go from here? The aspects that where covered where pretty different as there was a good range of speakers but the overall message was that we need to do something now and not wait any longer. And the GRI and the aspect of integrated reporting are playing a crucial role in this.

Another big event here was the GRI Readers Choice (RCA) Awards and they are all from Brazil! Yes you read right… all from Brazil.

These are the winners of the RCA Awards:

  • The RCA Most Effective Report Award winner is Banco Bradesco
  • The RCA Investor Award winner is Banco do Brasil
  • RCA Best Overall Report Award is Banco do Brasil
  • The RCA Value Chain Award is won by Natura Cosmeticos from Brayil
  • The RCA civil society award goes to Vale from (what a surprise) from Brazil!

In Summary:

All in all this was a very interesting conference. I am feeling very fortunate to be able to spend my day networking, discussing and learning more about Sustainability and CSR topics. And this is what a conference should be. For me it was about getting into detail on some of the topics such as XBRL, Social Media and this is what the conference was able to provide. Looking forward to the next one in 2011!

Day 1 of the Global Reporting (GRI) Conference

I arrived in Amsterdam for the GRI Conference yesterday expecting to connect with many likeminded people and to pick up the latest trends and opinions on Sustainability and CSR.

This is the first of three posts I will do this week covering this conference.

Impressions from Day 1 (A more detailed report will follow during the later stages of this week):

  • In general the mood of conference organizers, sponsors, speakers and participants I talked to seems to be a good and constructive one. The conference is now sold out and despite the economic downturn Sustainability/CSR professionals still find this conference highly useful, for them and their business. The venue is good and a lot of the key players in the field are attending.
  • Integrated reporting seems to be the major theme here from what I can tell after the first day. Everyone is talking about it here and some of the plenary session speakers today really went into detail about it. GRI also announced that it would fully support a move to integrated reporting. So does the organization supported by the HRH the Prince of Wales- Accounting for Sustainability. These are two heavyweights in terms of Sustainability / CSR opinion and this for me is a clear sign that integrated reporting will be a key area of work for GRI in the coming months.
  • Twitter is making the conference very interactive. There was one point half way through the plenary session where I counted something like 14 different people tweeting on a regular basis throughout the day when I searched for the #griconference hashtag on Twitter. This is a sign of the future to come with regards to stakeholder engagement at these kind of events. Two years ago this kind of engagement would have been unthinkable. GRI also provided free Wifi which was great to foster communication via Twitter. Tomorrow we will hopefully see the continuation of this online engagement.

In summary:
Day 1 of the conference was really interesting. But Day 2 will hopefully be even more interesting. Now we are going into the individual discussion panels and topic specific presentations.
So stay tuned for coverage of Day 2 tomorrow evening or follow the live tweets on Twitter with the hashtag: #griconference. This is the direct link to all the tweets from the conference. If you prefer to follow individual Twitter users attending the conference then you will find a list of these participants here:

People on Twitter that also attend the GRI conference next week

I am attending the Global Reporting (GRI) conference next week. While doing some preparation for the session I will be moderating at the conference I wondered who is going to the conference that is also on Twitter and/or a reader of my blog. I had no clue.
The purpose of today’s post is to feature a list of people that I know are going to the conference. I believe that this list will be very helpful to some of you in order to connect while being at the conference.
But here is the important bit:  I rely on you to tell me other people that are going to be in Amsterdam next week. So please either comment or send me a message through the About page template. This list will be edited by me as we approach the conference and during the time of the conference.
Here is the list of people I know that are on Twitter  and will also be at the GRI conference:

Please let me know whether there is anyone you know on Twitter that is going as well. I will then add this person or organisation and update this list continuously.

Video: How we wrecked the ocean by Jeremy Jackson

Today I would like to recommend one video from addressing the current state of our oceans. Jeremy Jackson outlines how todays oceans are overfished, overheated and polluted to an extend that not many people know about.

His stats and astonishing photos make a very convincing case for us to act now to safe our oceans before large parts will become a wasteland and fish will be a species of the past.

First impressions – CSR in the Middle East

Several weeks ago I was invited to come to the Lebanon and speak about CSR reporting. I wasn’t sure what to make of it a the beginning but after a few minutes into the conversation I realized that this man I was speaking to really knew what he was talking about. It all sounded really interesting, something that was absolutely necessary to support in my opinion and another great opportunity to promote CSR. I therefore confirmed my interest and I was on a plane to Beirut yesterday.

We had the first ever CSR Seminar here in Beirut today. I think it was a success and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the topics discussed, the regional input and the totally different culture.

More will follow in a proper post at a later stage but as I am a blogger I needed to share my immediate thoughts today and need some feedback if possible.

Here are my impressions from today:
  • The audience was very receptive to the overall concept of CSR
  • They even had several TV crews at the event. So you might even get the joy on seeing me on TV if you live the Middle East that is.
  • Culturally I believe is CSR is a really good fit for businesses here in he Middle East. The sense of community and responsibility is really strong.
  • Western best practice is really helping to frame the objective of what is needed for businesses to see their CSR objective
  • People with CSR experience in this field are really in high demand.
  • Lebanese people in particular are so hospitable. Just amazing how kind they are.

As I have written at the beginning, I will do a proper post later this or next week so stay tuned for more. In the meantime would I love to hear from you what your experiences with CSR and the Middle East are. No worries if you have none but maybe you could help me in sharing  what you would expect to find in terms of CSR best practice, cultural sensitivity in relation to CSR, etc?