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!
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!