Every year, more companies across the globe are recognizing the importance of sustainability and CSR reporting for improved reputation and financial returns from customers and investors, in addition to increasing cost savings and risk aversion.  In 2008, 84 percent of the 250 largest global companies by revenue reported on sustainability performance, 75 percent of which used the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework for their reporting process[1].

The GRI provides a standard framework and guidelines for measuring and reporting an organization’s economic, environmental, and social performance.  The GRI framework yields reliable, credible and comparable metrics through its use of performance indicators in 6 key categories: Environmental, Human Rights, Labor Practices and Decent Work, Society, Product Responsibility, and Economic.  By reporting on the indicators most relevant to their operations, organizations can present their significant environmental, social and economic impacts and opportunities. 

But at first glance, the number of indicators within each category may seem intimidating and even confusing.  To help organizations understand what these indicators mean, as well as where and how to start their reporting process, BrownFlynn Learning provides its signature course, “The GRI Process”, and has recently partnered with Symbiotic Engineering to offer a comprehensive course on GRI’s 30 Environmental Indicators.

On February 11, 2010, BrownFlynn Learning will complement its training session for The GRI Process (February 9-10) with the one-day course focused on the GRI Environmental Performance (EN) Indicators.  Environmental engineers (bios below) will help participants garner an in-depth understanding of the standard protocols and methodologies for setting goals and for tracking and reporting environmental performance toward those goals.  Instructors will delve into how the environmental indicators relate to benchmarking, reporting GHG inventories and life cycle analysis, and addressing problems faced by participants.

Expected Outcomes of the Environmental Indicator Course:

  • How to use the Environmental Indicators as the basis for the business case for sustainability.
  • The current methodologies and protocols relevant to the North American market for reporting the Environmental Indicators.
  • How to benchmark, set goals, and respond when the company is going off goal.
  • How these indicators are used for reporting to other agencies, such as the Carbon Disclosure Project.
  • The course will include discussion of using information collected for GRI for other reporting protocols such as the Carbon Disclosure Project. Instruction will also consider Life Cycle Analyses that takes a broader view of the environmental impact.


8:30 – 8:45am: Welcome and Introductions of Trainers

8:45 – 9:00am: Environmental Indicators and the Business Case for Sustainability

9:00 – 10:15am: Core Indicators Overview

10:15 – 10:30am: Break

10:30 – 11:15am: Core Indicators – Setting Baselines

11:15 – 11:45am: Additional Indicators Overview and Baselines

11:45am – 12:30pm: Lunch

12:30 – 1:30pm: Goals, Benchmarking and Utilizing the Management Disclosure

1:30 – 2:45pm: Reporting GHG Inventory and Life Cycle Analysis

2:45 – 3:00pm: Break

3:00 – 3:45pm: Case Study

3:45 – 4:30pm: Remaining Participant Questions, Discussion and Wrap Up


Trainer Bios:

Mark Reiner

Mark is a founding Principal of Symbiotic Engineering in Boulder, Colorado. Symbiotic was formed in 2006 and is a Colorado-based energy/carbon consulting firm that focuses primarily on environmental life cycle analyses and the development of web-based tools that integrate utility data, GIS, and structure attributes from tax assessor databases to develop energy intensity patterns of individual properties, neighborhoods and service areas.  Mark specializes in materials evaluations and overall sustainability reporting using GRI G3 International protocols.  

Previous to starting Symbiotic, Mark was the co-lead for the infrastructure assessment for the Master Plan of Kigali, Rwanda while also serving as the Projects Director for Engineers Without Borders – USA.  He has also served as adjunct faculty at the University of Colorado at Denver where he taught “Urbanization of Developing Nations”.  He received his PhD from the same institution in Civil Engineering. 

Michael Whitaker

Dr. Michael Whitaker is a founding Principal at Symbiotic Engineering, LLC, with a focus on conducting greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and life cycle assessments (LCA) both domestically and internationally.  Currently, Michael directs Symbiotic Engineering’s GHG management, LCA, and sustainable real estate development and quantification programs.  Using internationally accepted methodologies and life cycle systems thinking, Michael quantifies energy, emissions, and material flows to develop action items that enhance the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of clients. 

Prior to co-founding Symbiotic Engineering, Michael focused on analyzing the life cycle GHG impacts of transportation and electricity generation systems and on developing GHG emission reduction strategies for private organizations and public entities.  His experience encompasses a variety of organizations including municipalities, universities, governmental laboratories, real estate developers, and other domestic and international companies.  In 2007, Dr. Whitaker completed his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado Denver as part of the Urban Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering Project with his work focusing on comparing the life cycle GHG impacts of urban mass transit systems in the U.S. and India.

Caitlin Rood

Caitlin Rood is an Environmental Engineer, specializing in pollution prevention (P2), environmental management systems (EMS), and environmental results programs (ERP).  Ms. Rood is a Lead Certifier under the California Climate Action Registry and has been involved in three greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory projects.  After passing the Environmental Lead Auditor EMS examination, she with several Department of Defense installations on various aspects of EMS implementation. 

For the past 11 years, Ms. Rood has served as key technical staff and project manager for P2 projects in numerous industry sectors, such as telecommunications, dental, mining, auto repair and fleet maintenance, ski areas, golf courses, lodging, hospitals, aqueous cleaning, metal finishing and surface coating.  In addition to her technical roles, Ms. Rood has experience developing outreach and training materials.

For more information about this course and to register, visit http://www.brownflynnlearning.com.

[1] KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting in 2008.