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Slater On The ‘5th GRI Global Conference’ 2016


GRI attempts to create sustainable corporate value chains by understanding “GRI help companies”.

Slater On The ‘5th GRI Global Conference’ 2016
Dailycsr.com – 15 June 2016 – The GRI Global Conference for the year of 2016 was held in Amsterdam from the 18th of May 2016 till the 20th of May 2016. The two days long event brought together sustainability leaders to discuss and share “best practices, innovation, and trends” in the sustainable business habits.
This year’s GRI Global Conference marked the fifth one, whereby the “Knowledge Unit” of GRI’s Head, Alyson Slater, open up about the aim behind the event. When asked about the “priority program areas” of GRI, Slater replied:
“There are many priorities for GRI to focus on these days. It’s important that GRI concentrate on what is most material to the companies and stakeholders that participate including investor communities. New factors such as the Paris climate deal and the release of the UN Sustainable Development Goals make materiality and the alignment of resources and priorities critical.
“Prioritizing enables us to understand how to push the needle forward on megatrends like climate change and human rights.
“With access to so much data, we want to decipher how data can be unlocked and used to better assess risk management, improve strategies, increase stakeholder relations, and enhance company performance”.
As per Slater, the challenge ahead of them lies in determining the “role” of a business in support of “the UN SDGs”, as most of them do not have any tangible plans, resulting in uncertainty when using their “resources” to attain their goals. It is to the best of the business organisation that they define the relation between their goals and their respective business. She adds:
“We suggest a company begin by peering down their supply chain to determine the conditions and sourcing of how their products are made. It is important to understand each level of the supply chain and the practices instituted”.
Given the large number of women working especially in “major food producer or retailer” business chains, resulting in struggle for “labor conditions, pay equality, and access to education”, Slater continues:
“When matching up the SDG with the issues, we see that the goals that align most are SDG number 5 for gender equality and SDG number 8 regarding decent work.
“It’s important that GRI help companies understand their value chain from a sustainability perspective. Along the value chain there are risks and impacts. Those risks and impacts are where GRI can raise awareness and provide tools so that businesses can address the concerns fully.
“At the conference, we conducted deep dives with attendees on topics like supply chain management and sourcing, gender equality, anti-corruption, land tenure, and human rights to name only a few”.
The theme of the fifth “GRI Global Conference”, “Empowering Sustainable Decisions”, was a reminder to the “need” align business practices towards “Paris agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals”. GRI became an instrument in order to highlight the importance of the situation, the requirements of interpreting the global needs to the benefit of humanity’s future and consecutively driving them to take responsible action. While, Slater remarks:
“We lined up the most inspirational speakers for the conference. Our plan was to provide spaces and opportunities for attendees to work together and inspire one another. The freedom to share not only best practices but real and true challenges faced by each company will be the biggest takeaway benefit for attendees”.