For Financial Services Sector Managers – Materiality Reporting Workshop, G3.1 and Preparing for Transition to G4

by Hank Boerner, Chairman, G&A Institute

Materiality – for corporate managers, and sustainability report users (asset managers, analysts), materiality really does matter.  But the question is asked — what matters?  To whom? What are our peer companies reporting?  What is best practice in determining the materiality of issues?  What about our sector…industry?

To help answer some of these questions for Financial Services Sector managers, two leading consultancies have teamed to present a workshop on November 20, 2013 at Baruch College / City of New York University.  The “how and why” of determining and reporting on materiality for the sector will be explored and research presented on the 2012 GRI reporting activities of almost 200 companies in the global Financial Services Sector. G&A Institute is teaming with ISOS Group, certified GRI trainers, and host Baruch College / The Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity, to present an all-day workshop on materiality in the Financial Services Sector.

Participants will learn (and get advice on) what companies in North America and other regions are addressing in their materiality processes, and what they are including in their GRI reports. G&A Institute is the exclusive Data Partner for the GRI in the United States and over the past year has conducted a comprehensive study of corporate reporting using the GRI guidelines, sector-by-sector.  Findings will be shared at the workshop.  ISOS Group conducts the two-day GRI workshops around the country and will discuss the transition to G4 from G3.1, and important aspects of determining materiality for the GRI reporting process.

*NEW IN THE USA: As part of this workshop, participants will receive their Certificate of completion of the “GRI Certified Training Module on Defining Report Content” directly from the Global Reporting Initiative.

The workshop is timely — companies using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for their sustainability reporting are preparing for transition from the present third generation (G3.1) to the new G4 guidelines. There is increased emphasis on the materiality of content of reports in G4. So -what is considered “material?” (Depends on the company’s operations, sector, industry, peer group reporting practices- and very important, stakeholder views on what is material to them.)

Companies experienced in sustainability reporting develop robust materiality processes, which include engaging with a range of stakeholders and developing feedback on their views of materiality (as well as internal processes to identify material issues).. So – looking at 2012 corporate reporting – what are companies choosing as their most material content element? The least material? What’s in the middle? What varies sector-to-sector, industry-to-industry?

The G&A Institute team will provide answers to these questions. We are just completing a year-long study of 1500 global companies in 30+ sectors and their responses to the GRI 3.1 guidelines. We’ll be releasing results over the coming weeks. The first unveiling of the most-to-least responses will be for the global Financial Services Sector.

On November 20, the one-day workshop on Financial Services materiality disclosure and reporting trends agenda will cover many items dealing with Materiality.

Guest speakers include Hideki Suzuki of Bloomberg LP,  Marjella Alma of GRI Focal Point USA, and Herbert Blank of Thomson Reuters (new) TR CR Indexes and benchmarks..

Registration for the workshop is open — information is at: www.isosgroup.com/gri-certified-reporting/trainings/materiality

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