More than 80 sustainability professionals were gathered at Hydro’s offices in Oslo recently to discuss the future of sustainability reporting, and how it can create value.
Business as usual is no longer an option, said Sven Mollekleiv, head of corporate social responsibility at DNV GL.
Mollekleiv moderated a panel debate where Øivind Amundsen, Executive Vice President, Primary Market & Legal Affairs at Oslo Børs, Janis Bjørn Kanavin, Special Envoy for Responsible Business in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kirsten Margrethe Hovi, Head of Extra-Financial Reporting at Hydro and Nils H. Bastiansen, Executive Director – Equities at Folketrygdfondet (The Norwegian Pension Fund) were discussing the future drivers of sustainability reporting and integration into business models and value chains.
The panel called attention to the importance of integrating sustainability in the overall business strategy, and that they are happy to see how good reporting standards are contributing to more transparency. The panelists also emphasized the responsibility business has to follow up on these issues.
The main event was the launch of the first global reporting standards for sustainability reporting, the GRI Standards, which are substituting the former GRI Guidelines, and included also key note speakers from Hydro and DNV GL.
Teresa Fogelberg, deputy CEO of GRI, set the tone by saying that transparency generates accountability; it creates market opportunities and a license to operate, and reduces risks.
"Reporting is the key to transparency and sustainability, she said supported by Hydro’s Kirsten Margrethe Hovi, who is also a member of GRI’s standard setting board, GSSB: "Transparency is creating value to the company, said Hovi, emphasizing how it can create pride in the organization while protecting against emergencies and negative publicity."
To represent the practitioners of sustainability reporting was also Maria Gjølberg, consultant at DNV GL. She explored how companies could get value from reporting on one of the most complex topics in our time.
Hovi and Gjølberg agreed that the GRI Standards create a good framework to connect solid data and reported performance requested by top management, the boards and external stakeholders.