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Global Reporting Initiative’s Own Sustainability Report: Emissions Rise

Direct and indirect carbon emissions from office operations at the Global Reporting Initiative increased from about 78 to 80 metric tons of CO2 between fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11, according to the body’s sustainability report.

Similarly, the secretariat of the worldwide sustainability reporting standards body saw indirect energy used for heating rise 6 percent and that for electricity rise 1 percent year-on year. GRI attributes the rise in energy consumption to the increase in its staffing numbers.

In 2009/10 the secretariat moved to a new location which resulted, it says, in a more energy-efficient office space. Figures for electricity and heating consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are still significantly lower than 2008-09 figures.

Most of GRI’s indirect greenhouse gas emissions are produced by air travel and appear to not be included in figures relating to the secretariat mentioned above. In 2010-11, greenhouse gas emissions from staff air travel decreased by 21.3 percent from 2009-10 levels. GRI attributes this mostly due to its ongoing commitment to virtual meetings and online conferences using services such as Webex and Skype.

In terms of waste, a report in the chart said GRI’s secretariat has increased the percentage of materials used that are recycled input materials from 0.927 to 0.948 year-on-year. Environmental Leader assumes these figures were meant to read 92.7 percent and 94.8 percent respectively, since the report also states that most of the secretariat’s input materials relate to paper and publishing, and it uses 100 percent recycled paper for office printing, hardcopy printing of the Sustainability Reporting Framework, promotional materials and publications.

GRI’s 2009-10 report detailed its actions to reduce environmental impacts in office culture and global travel. This year’s report details progress on these goals. GRI has successfully offset all business travel carbon dioxide emissions and now provides more precise and comparable data on energy consumption, the report says.

The body has made slower progress on other goals. GRI still needs to implement its sustainable procurement policy into the secretariat’s operations. It has also yet to finalize sustainability and environmental policies. Drafts of these policies are available and will be undergoing consultation this year, the report says.

GRI said it followed its own G3.1 Guidelines, as well as the NGO Sector Supplement, to produce the sustainability report, and has declared the report as meeting application level A.

The organization says that its biggest impacts on the environment are indirect, through the use of the Sustainability Reporting Framework, improving the sustainability and transparency of thousands of organizations worldwide. According to consultancy KPMG, 80 percent of the world’s largest companies use GRI’s reporting framework, and the number of companies reporting is on the up.

In 2011 84 percent of the largest U.S. companies reported on their corporate responsibility initiatives, up from 74 percent in 2008, according to a survey by KPMG cited in the GRI report. In the United Kingdom the jump was from 91 to 100 percent, and in France the improvement was from 59 to 94 percent, the report says.

In 2011 64 percent of the 100 largest companies in 34 countries surveyed by consultancy KPMG were deemed to be making “strong progress” on sustainability reporting. This figure was up from 53 percent in 2008 and 12 percent in 1993, the report says

Recent publications released using the GRI standard include sustainability reports from Philips Electronics and Coke.

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