PE International’s corporate sustainability solution SoFi has become the first software verified by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
GRI is the organisation that has pioneered the development of a sustainability reporting framework. It’s aim is to make the disclosure on economic, environmental and social performance as commonplace and comparable as financial reporting.
The GRI program for certifying software and digital tools started in the beginning of 2010 and aims to ensure the correct usage of GRI content, such as the GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework. Certification means that PE’s product includes GRI copyright protected content and its accuracy is verified by GRI.
The product in question, SoFi, is a comprehensive solution for environmental management, CSR, corporate carbon footprinting and emissions management. PE International describes its key benefits as a company-wide database for reporting and managing sustainability performance, an easy-to-use web-based solution and the fact that it’s backed up by 20 years of consulting experience.
GRI itself held its global conference on sustainability and transparency in Amsterdam last week. During the opening session its Chief Executive Ernst Ligteringen outlined two goals for the organisation for the next decade:
• Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting should become a general practice to help markets and society take informed and responsible decisions. GRI advocates that by 2015 all large and medium-sized companies in OECD countries and fast-growing emerging economies should be required to report publicly on their ESG performance, or if they don’t, explain why.
• Secondly, GRI proposes that ESG reporting and financial reporting need to converge over the coming decade. GRI advocates that a standard for integrated reporting should be defined, tested and adopted by 2020.
GRI is slowly but surely gaining acceptance in the corporate CSR world and could well become the de-facto reporting standard. Its new goals will get a lot of support from environmental, financial and investment organisations and accepted environmental and accounting policy will inevitable move in that direction over time.
As a result, conforming to GRI standards is likely to become a requirement for CSR software tools in the future, particularly if it becomes a more widespread standard. This is a complex market, though, with a host of organisations and governments making reporting demands, so it’s likely that solutions will need to conform to a variety of standards and requirements for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, it’s that complexity that largely dictates the need for the tools in the first place.