The CERES 2017 Conference in San Francisco has proven most inspiring – especially the session with Tom Mohin, the newly appointed head of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Janine Guillot, Director of Capital Markets Policy and Outreach at the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).
It has become clear from this session that both the GRI and SASB want the world to know that they are complementary – rather than opposing - frameworks for sustainability (or ESG) related data. Despite the first being more than 20 years old and the second having just recently burst onto the scene, Mohir made it very clear that he sees a world where there is space for both GRI and SASB, and where there is a more harmonized and simplified approach to sustainability reporting. Hear, hear Tom!
In the spirit of collaboration that we so often see in the sustainability field, the two organizations are increasingly working together, and any perceived competition between the two is a thing of the past. As Mohin stated, we’ve reached a point where volume seems to have replaced importance, and we need to refocus reporting to be about material data and information.
Having said this, the two frameworks are not the same, as Janine Guillot illustrated by pointing to SASB’s focus on one specific stakeholder – the shareholder and on an internally driven definition of materiality. Interestingly, Guillot also mentioned that SASB does not intend to produce its own metrics, but rather use those that already exist, such as GRI, CDP, and the soon-to-be-released Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure.
Just like two heads are better than one, the GRI-SASB collaboration is sure accelerate the push for relevant, comparable, consistent, decision-useful information. Public companies ought to take notice!