Swiss Government renews GRI partnership to spread sustainability reporting globally

Published date: 22 June 2021

New GRI-SECO program will foster responsible business practices in Africa, Hispanic America and South East Asia

GRI is pleased to announce the continuation of a successful partnership with the Swiss Confederation’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), through a new €3.8 million (US$4.6m) program to increase high-quality sustainability disclosure and accountability by organizations in Africa, Hispanic America and South East Asia.  

The key aims of the four-year Sustainability Reporting for Responsible Business (SRRB) program are to enhance the capacity of companies for reporting; create and improve the environment for transparency and disclosure; and increase the application of corporate sustainability data by stakeholders. Its wide-ranging remit in the three regions will include the delivery of:

  • Training, workshops and resources for businesses, associations, investors and other stakeholders;
  • Improved access to sustainability professional development by providing scholarships for the GRI Professional Certification Program;
  • Engagement and events with policy officials and government agencies on how to integrate ESG disclosure in the public sector, including procurement practices;
  • Collaboration with markets and national regulators in support of robust sustainable finance regulations;
  • Capacity building with journalists for story telling on sustainable development issues and the role of corporate reporting;
  • Support for higher education institutions to incorporate content on ESG disclosure in business management and finance courses.

SECO is one of GRI’s most established partners and have supported the organization since 2012. The SRRB builds on the success of the previous GRI-SECO program, Corporate Sustainability and Reporting for Competitive Business (2016-2020), which introduced companies and their SME value chains to the benefits of reporting, in Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, Peru, South Africa and Vietnam.

For Switzerland, mainstreaming social and environmental considerations into private sector operations is an important factor to achieve sustainable development. The importance of sustainability reporting is increasing, as a growing number of countries are introducing rules affecting due diligence regarding corporate activities abroad. For companies in both developed and emerging markets, this presents certain challenges, but more importantly an opportunity to become part of global value chains and attract investors. We are thus very pleased to continue our successful partnership with GRI to assist companies in our partner countries to reap the benefits of solid sustainability reporting.”

Ambassador Raymund Furrer, Head of Economic Development Cooperation at SECO

I welcome and value the continued collaboration with the Swiss Government, who are one of the strongest supporters for GRI’s mission to utilize corporate transparency as a driver for sustainable development. This funding will allow us to deepen engagement with companies, markets, policymakers and other groups throughout Africa, South East Asia and Hispanic America. Our new program with SECO builds on strong foundations, following a previous program that engaged thousands of companies and stakeholders in sustainability reporting. We are hugely excited about the opportunities to further increase sustainable business practices and policies, which are crucial for achieving resilient economies and making progress towards the SDGs.”

Marco van der Ree, GRI Chief Development Officer

GRI has a series of programs with strategic partners, which are funded by governments and foundations. The Global Standards Fund is a newly launched initiative to safeguard the continued development and free provision of the GRI Standards.

All of GRI’s grant funding meets the requirements of the Global Sustainability Standards Board Terms of Reference, which ensures the GRI Standards are developed in line with the needs of companies and the global community, free from external influence.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) implements Switzerland’s economic and trade policies for the benefit of developing countries, with an aim of reducing poverty and overcoming challenges in its partner countries. SECO runs some 300 programs and projects that help countries in the Global South and East increase their economic competitiveness and achieve sustainable prosperity, with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as an important reference point.

The SRRB program (2021-2025) is supported by GRI’s regional hubs in Africa, ASEAN, Hispanic America and South Asia.