Name: Teresa Fogelberg
Country of Residence: The Netherlands
Current Position: Deputy Chief Executive, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
What is your role at the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
After a long career in the Dutch government, in 2004 I moved to the GRI where I currently work as Deputy Chief Executive, in charge of governmental relations, international organisations, development and advocacy. It’s an exciting time to be working with policy makers on sustainability reporting, it really feels as if we’re experiencing a dramatic shift to a more sustainable economy. Transparency has an important role to play in that.
How is reporting advancing sustainable development in the private sector?
Thousands of organisations worldwide now produce sustainability reports. Research shows that, in 2011, 95% of the largest 250 companies worldwide issued sustainability reports – up from around 80% in 2008 and 50% in 2005. In producing such reports, companies assess the sustainability dimensions of their activities and report their policies and performance. For multinationals and western companies, this means they can be held accountable for the actions that affect development. For companies based in developing countries, transparency can bolster their position in the market, strengthening the local economy. It also helps them make savings and increase profits, contributing to development.
What do you expect from Rio+20 regarding the private sector?
Sustainable development can only be achieved with the inclusion of the business sector. Governments can create the enabling conditions for business to operate and for the market to function properly. Rio+20 provides a unique opportunity to do this, to adopt a global policy framework on sustainability reporting based on a report or explain approach.
Information on companies’ economic, social and environmental performance – the three dimensions of sustainable development – and governance should be widely available to decision makers, including governments and private sector organisations. If businesses and all other organisations monitor and report sustainability performance data, they will have the vital information needed by executives to manage risk and identify sustainability opportunities. This would help them engage with stakeholders, and help financial markets work efficiently, in a shared effort to pave the way to sustainable development worldwide.
What is your ideal outcome from Rio+20?
Some have dreams of Rio that reach far into the future. I have a very concrete dream. It is just around the corner: ready to happen – just waiting for some bold Rio negotiators to make it happen. What is that dream? That one year after Rio, all large companies of the world – almost a hundred thousand – will be measuring their impact on sustainable development; and share that knowledge through sustainability reporting. This will be a very concrete result: a global requirement for all large companies – public and private – to report or explain why not.