Proposal to the GRI for Community-Based Reporting

I. RATIONALE

It is the assumption of this proposal that the ultimate goal of the Global Reporting

Initiative, of the GRI funders and supporters, and of the UNDEP is long-term

sustainability for the Earth, for local communities, and for families.

o The GRI has produced an instrument for self-reporting by the corporations on their policies and practices that impact these facets of sustainability. The instrument provides information in a measurable and formatted manner that lends itself to comparison over time and among communities and countries.

o The fact that the instrument is based on the self-reporting of the corporation immediately raises the question of verification, and verification by whom.

o Long-term indicators are required to reveal what changes for the better as a result of the use of the reporting instrument, i.e., how the ultimate goal of sustainability is actually being achieved.

It is further assumed that

o That the primary and immediate goal of corporations is the sustainability of the corporation. Sustainability implies that the corporation has to make reasonable profits on its investment in order to satisfy its shareholders.

o Corporations are facing increasing pressure from concerned shareholders and community-based activists to acknowledge their particular share of responsibility for the sustainability of the Earth and of the local communities

in which they operate.

o Corporations have much at stake in the results of the reporting.

This proposal would test community-based reporting as a way to strengthen the indicators so that information from the GRI guidelines truly leads to sustainability on all three levels: community, family (worker), and corporation sustainability.

2. PROPOSAL:

That pilot project(s) be established to test the viability of engaging non-governmental organizations within the local communities in the immediate and long-term verification of the corporations' reporting.

o Underlying the proposal to engage NGOs rather than governmental or quasi-governmental entities to do the community-based reporting is the assumption that local governmental leaders may be motivated for their own benefit to "sell" the community as a locality for the corporation's operation, a situation that may not result in the distribution of the benefits within the local community.

o Some effects of actions of incidents appear only over time, e.g., health effects, or impact of out-migration or immigration on a community or eco-system. Members of the community, having the most at stake as a result, would be the most motivated to engage in this type of reporting.

o The use of the same indicators by both the corporations and NGOs in the local communities provides engages two stakeholders who may or may not report the same event or corporation policy in the same way. Comparison of their reports is required to achieve a clearer picture of the reality.

D

I

F

D

I

F

Overlap

Local Community

Report

Corporation

Report

In the hypothetical example above, the questions would be raised:

Where is there overlap? Difference? Does the difference come from perspective or is there real substantive difference?

For which indicators can the community provide information? What other indicators are needed? What information does the community provide that is not in the indicators, e.g., labor issues that may need to be in the report.

What is the local expertise? What kinds of evidence does the local NGO provide to substantiate its findings?

o A part of the process of the proposal is to establish a forum for communication between the NGO, the community and the corporation. This is described in the next section.

3. PROPOSED PROCESS

Year One

a. Establishment of criteria for selection of countries and corporations, e.g., company X in countries R and T; or companies Y and Z in country U.

b. Meeting with the corporation involved

c. Establishment of criteria for selection of NGOs in the countries.

d. Meeting with the NGO selected

e. Joint meeting

f. Determination of the degree of capacity-building required to prepare the NGOs to do the reporting.

g. Capacity-building and training of the NGO?

h. Initiate reporting

Year Two

a. Completion of report by NGO and Corporation

b. Selection of committee to review reports

c. Preparation for FORUM to be attended by NGO, Corporation, Community representatives, GRI representatives. Selection of representatives.

d. FORUM

1) Methodology used to bring people together and to analyze : CREA

Systemic Analysis Program: Creating a neutral space where groups that have not come together before to come together to evaluate and to determine steps to bring about change.

2) FORUM and Systemic Analysis Program are non-oppositional, non-violent, and confidential. All must agree to confidentiality.

3) FORUM is long-term and structured. The process should be replicable in other countries, with other corporations and communities.