Monday, 4 January 2010

Time to speak up

If it is about sustainability, we seem to have a number of reasons to speak up. First of all, the Copenhagen negotiations did not bring anything close to a global treaty. Whilst new dates are set to finalize next steps, global warming just continues. Also it does not seem undisputed that business is working on changing its values as a solution to the financial crisis. Some of the world’s largest organizations appear to miss the plot – not fundamentally changing the attitude towards bonuses etc. – although others have now started to link bonus payments to sustainability measures as a step in the right direction. As another example, the energy crisis does not seem to have gained momentum yet to tackle climate change from another angle: exhausting natural resources. Countries such as China, however, are very rapidly changing investment policies.

We need to know where companies stand on sustainability and it seems from the above examples that businesses could benefit from some help. Transparency is a key part of the deep change that is needed. I look very much forward, therefore, to understanding sustainability report readers’ needs and expectations about sustainability reporting by companies. And if you – as a reader - are representing a company, let your report be part of the next GRI Readers’ Choice Awards Survey at

Together with the other partners of the GRI Readers’ Choice Awards 2010 we are ready to analyze the results: we will start our first analysis just a few weeks from now and February will for sure be busy with drafting the report! The first round of voting closes on January 27. So vote for the reports you believe should be recognized.

Wim Bartels
Partner, KPMG Sustainability, the Netherlands

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