reported today that signatories to the UNPRI may have to annually report on their ESG issues, similar to reporting to the UNGC‘s Communication on Progress.

Currently the 855 signatories have signed on to uphold six principles and report on their implementation by the second year of membership. However, the issue of “transparent and measurable action” has become a major concern for the signatories.

UNPRI executive director James Gifford had this to say: “We have just started consultation on this, but the PRI board believes that signatories must be transparent about the actions that they are taking. We won’t expect signatories to expose commercially sensitive activities, but I think we could see something a bit like the Global Compact’s Communication on Progress. We’ve already seen great progress on reporting: we went from 35 in our first year of reporting to several hundred last year. We have to step up though because we are asking companies to be more transparent, so we have to make sure we are reciprocating.”

Over the past year there has been a rising trend in ESG reporting, and the amount of shareholder resolutions filed on this issue has exploded. More and more shareholders are calling for transparency and the government is taking note. This past summer President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank bill into law, calling for more accountability and transparency, specifically in the financial industry. While the law calls out the financial industry in the wake of the economic crisis, the message is loud and clear to every industry in the nation. 

It makes sense that the UNPRI has singled out the UNGC, but what about the GRI? Would there be any push to report following the G3 framework? While mandatory non-financial reporting is the goal and certainly important, it’s even more important there be uniform, standard reporting for consistency and comparability.

What do you think? Should the UNPRI encourage its signatories to report not only to the UNGC, but following the G3 framework? Discuss!

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