Sustainability reporting on the rise in U.S. but external assurance lags

A report released recently by the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Focal Point USA, “Trends in External Assurance of Sustainability Reports: Spotlight on the USA”, found that while sustainability reporting in the United States continues to grow, corporate reporters in the U.S. are less likely to obtain third party assurance as their global peers. In the United States, 10 percent (26 out of 269 reporters) of GRI framework sustainability reports obtained external assurance in 2011. The international percentage is much higher at 38 percent.

The analysis examines the external assurance practices of U.S. companies that use the GRI Guidelines and was conducted in collaboration with GRI’s US data partner and organizational stakeholder Governance & Accountability Institute. Another recent G&A report – titled “2012 Sustainability Reporting – Does it Matter?” – shows that the current growth in corporate reporting in the U.S. is exceeding the global average growth of recent years. More than half (53 percent) of all companies in the S&P 500 Index and Fortune 500 are now publishing sustainability reports.

The Center for Corporate Citizenship offers a two-day program, in New York, May 15-16. This GRI-certified course provides a comprehensive foundation in the elements of a GRI report, the GRI reporting process and in-depth exploration of key reporting activities. The inaugural offering of Sustainability Reporting: A GRI certified program sold out in Atlanta in February. Designed for professionals involved with any facet of the reporting process for a company, this program provides the knowledge necessary to start a company's first GRI report or transform an existing CSR report into the GRI format.

If multiple people from a company are interested in the program it can be brought on site. Contact Eileen Blinstrub at for details.