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. http://search.twitter.com/search?q=griconference If you prefer to follow individual Twitter users attending the conference then you will find a list of these participants here: http://www.fabianpattberg.com/2010/05/people-twitter-attending-gri-csr-conference/

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