It has been a while since my last post on Earth Day 2020. A lot has happened in that time. In the future, I hope to be more timely in my posts.
In the past year, sustainability reporting has been getting more press. As investors demand more information from companies about their sustainability impacts, reporting frameworks are in the spotlight.
In December 2020 KPMG published its 11th edition of the KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting. The results of the survey are based on the sustainability reports from 5,200 companies in 52 countries and jurisdictions. They found that 96% of the world’s largest 250 companies (G250) report on their sustainability performance. Among the largest 100 firms in 52 countries (N100), 80% of these 5,200 companies do so. The dominant sustainability reporting framework was the GRI Standards. Almost three-quarters (73%) of the G250 and two-thirds (67%) of the N100 now use GRI.
It is amazing to see increased interest during the past year in sustainability reporting. This has been great for me as I have been busy as a trainer and consultant with the ISOSGroup. My courses include CDP Climate Change, the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Standards, ESG Foundations and Sustainable Development Goals. These are online courses that work quite well. Our live sessions allow us to interact directly with participants throughout the course. Without having to travel to the trainings, our carbon footprint has gone down considerably.
Last week I received an email inquiring about my experience with the GRI Standards Exam. This reminded me that several years have passed since I wrote about my experience with the GRI G4 Exam.
Definitely time for an update!
Things to consider about the GRI Standards Exam
Although completing the GRI Certified Standards Course is not a prerequisite, GRI recommends that exam candidates take the course. I agree because I have experience taking the GRI Standards Exam and am a trainer with the ISOSGroup that delivers GRI’s Certified Training. I know how the course can help you to understand the standards and to apply them. If you have taken the course, GRI gives a 20% discount off the exam fee.
After completing the course, you should study for the exam by reading the standards carefully and taking notes. Understanding how to apply the standards is important. I studied, and it paid off.
Once you register for the exam, you will be given access to sample questions. This helps to understand the format and type of questions to expect.
GRI’s Online Learning Platform administers the exam. This allows the convenience of taking the exam from any location with Internet access. You need a webcam and microphone because you will be recorded while taking the exam. If you have not used a similar test platform, you definitely will want to understand the setup details before hand. This involves making sure that your equipment is compatible with the platform and you are comfortable with the instructions.
You have 60 minutes to answer 40 questions. During the exam you have access to a non-searchable pdf of the consolidated set of standards. Don’t waste much time scrolling through the pdf document looking for answers. As with any timed exam, you need to pace yourself.
Internal and external decision makers need reliable environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data. Reliable data not only builds trust with external users, it helps internal users identify and mitigate risks more accurately. Take a look at new guidance from The World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Because suggestions align with COSO Internal Control Framework, application of the framework will be familiar to those in financial accounting.
SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals is part of my series on the SDGs.
Strengthen domestic resource mobilization, including through international support to developing countries, to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection
Developed countries to implement fully their official development assistance commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries ODA providers are encouraged to consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries
Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources
Assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring, as appropriate, and address the external debt of highly indebted poor countries to reduce debt distress
Adopt and implement investment promotion regimes for least developed countries
Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism
Promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed
Fully operationalize the technology bank and science, technology and innovation capacity-building mechanism for least developed countries by 2017 and enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology
Enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries to support national plans to implement all the sustainable development goals, including through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation
Promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization, including through the conclusion of negotiations under its Doha Development Agenda
Significantly increase the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020
Realize timely implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all least developed countries, consistent with World Trade Organization decisions, including by ensuring that preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from least developed countries are transparent and simple, and contribute to facilitating market access
Policy and institutional coherence
Enhance global macroeconomic stability, including through policy coordination and policy coherence
Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development
Respect each country’s policy space and leadership to establish and implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development
Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries
Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Data, monitoring and accountability
By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts
By 2030, build on existing initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that complement gross domestic product, and support statistical capacity-building in developing countries
ANZ supports SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals by describing their employee volunteering participation.
Ericsson provides support for SDG 17 in several ways. One was the launch of a report discussing how business can play a role in achieving the SDGs.
Another example for Ericsson is how the company is involved in humanitarian responses during major disasters.
We have come to the end of the 17 SDGs. My next post will be a recap of all 17.
SDG 15 Life on Land is a continuation of my series on the SDGs.
“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) define global sustainable development priorities and aspirations for 2030 and seek to mobilize global efforts around a common set of goals and targets. The SDGs call for worldwide action among governments, business and civil society to end poverty and create a life of dignity and opportunity for all, within the boundaries of the planet.”
SDG 15 Life on Land includes the following:
By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world
By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development
Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species
Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed
Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products
By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species
By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems
Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation
Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities
The importance of SDG 15 Life on Land for businesses can be seen in a World Business Council for Sustainable Development video. Companies that rely specifically on products from land have a large stake in protecting land. Unilever, Ericsson, and SAB Miller are three companies that reference SDG 15 as being important to their businesses.
Unilever supports SDG 15 Life on Land because many of it products depend on forests and agriculture. Unilever‘s video explains the importance of land preservation to its business.
Ericsson has a direct connection to the land with its robots that detect parasites.
In an effort to protect life on land, SABMiller is working with its sugarcane farming operations in Honduras to modify traditional procedures for washing the crop, to decrease pesticide use by 27%, and to reduce the burning of post harvest vegetation.
SWR supports SDG 15 Life on Land. All SWR blog posts are created using solar power and are hosted by renewable energy sources!