The 5th GRI Global Conference 2016 "Empowering Sustainable Decisions", was held on 18–20 May in Amsterdam, with the participation of almost 1,200 professionals from 77 countries all over the world. During the Conference, participants exchanged leading-edge knowledge on sustainability within the overall objective to build capacity and familiarise with recent related trends.

The main outcomes of the Conference can be summarised as follows:

  • The GRI G4 Guidelines will be replaced by the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards (GRI Standards). The Standards will feature a new modular approach per Topic (the former ‘Aspects’) for a more flexible structure in terms of updating the modules separately, clearer requirements (with mandatory requirements and voluntary approaches clearly indicated with ‘shall’ and ‘should’ wordings) and simplified more homogeneous language. With the first set of draft Standards already available for public comment, it is expected they will be released in autumn 2016 and will be required to be used for all reports published after 1st January 2018.
  • The importance for organisations to align, measure and communicate their progress on the recently launched United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was stressed. The SDG’s 17 objectives mark a new era of global development objectives that aim to reduce greenhouse gases, eliminate poverty and increase economic opportunities around the world.
  • Organisations will increasingly be expected to focus on data quality and quantity during their reporting process, rather than the report itself. Sustainability related information will increasingly be utilised for a variety of purposes (in management systems and by a wider scope of users), in order to enable better decision making for the organisation, as well as its Stakeholders.
  • The Digital Reporting Alliance was announced. The Alliance will create the technical infrastructure for digital reporting and a platform for filing digital reports, in order to address the lack of structured data in sustainability reporting and the lack of demand for digital reporting.

During the Conference, STREAM had the privilege to deliver one of the 10 Master Classes, as part of the official Conference Program.

STREAM's Master Class titled "Management Techniques to Handle Sustainability Effectively", helped professionals from 15 countries and 16 organisations, through simplified theory, practical case-studies and interactive workshops, to improve the way to utilise widely used management techniques (such as Balanced Scorecard, Change Management, Situational Leadership, Quality Management), in order to manage Sustainability in a more systematic, effective and efficient way.

In case you have any queries, please feel free to contact us.