I had the honor to be at the New York Stock Exchange this week for the GRI Focal Point USA launch which puts “resources on the ground” for current and future sustainability reporters in the form of sustainability veteran and reporting expert Mike Wallace, GRI Director.
Webcast live, the event was attended by more than 200 representatives of US corporate GRI reporters, Wall Street investment firms, major accounting firms and organizational stakeholders such as Two Tomorrows. While some participants expressed disappointment at not getting to ring the opening bell, for many of us just being in the hallowed “cathedral of capital” was excitement enough.
For the GRI to establish a US presence brings the Amsterdam-based organization full circle. Originally launched as an initiative of Boston-based Ceres in 1999, the GRI was the brainchild of Alan White (present at Monday’s event) and co-founder Robert Massey.
In his opening remarks, GRI Chief Executive Ernst Ligteringen was direct in his rationale for setting up shop stateside: Despite the overall growth in sustainability reporting worldwide and year-over-year uptake of the GRI reporting framework, the US continues to lag Europe when it comes to GRI reporting.