The Three I’s in Sustainability: Information, Integration, Innovation

March 21, 2013

Marjolein Baghuis, Director of Marketing and Communications, Global Reporting Initiative

Around the world, people see a clear link between sustainability and innovation: To tackle today’s sustainability challenges, we need innovations that help us transform our lives. Increasingly, companies see the integration of sustainability into their business strategies as a great opportunity to become better companies for their stakeholders, including their shareholders.

The connection between sustainability and information is perhaps not as apparent, but it is actually a strong lever to drive the other two I’s in sustainability.

Peter Drucker’s mantra, “What gets measured, gets managed,” shows the power of information in driving change. Sustainability reporting is a process used by thousands of companies around the world to unlock the power of information—both internally and externally. Sustainability information (and its analysis in the reporting process) can actually serve as a catalyst for integration and innovation.

So there you have it—the three I’s in sustainability: information, integration, innovation.

It’s no coincidence that this is the theme for the Global Conference on Sustainability and Reporting, which the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is staging in Amsterdam, May 22-24, 2013. At the conference, GRI will launch its own latest innovation, the next generation of the GRI Guidelines, G4.

G4 is in its final stages of development. Key elements to note in the final draft are:

  • A stronger focus on materiality
  • Two tiers of “in accordance” criteria (versus only one in the exposure draft)
  • Simplification of sector-specific reporting requirements
  • A clear split between the guidelines for the “what” and the guidance for the “how” to report

So what is your favorite “I” in sustainability? Or is there a fourth “I” that will take you to the GRI conference: inspiration?


On the opening day of the GRI conference, BSR President and CEO Aron Cramer will moderate a plenary session on sustainability developments around the world. BSR members attending the GRI conference will have an opportunity to meet Aron over lunch—more information coming soon.

Let’s talk about how BSR can help you to transform your business and achieve your sustainability goals.

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