Making Sense of Sustainability 2011 / 2012 Report

a non-profit organization engaged in the development and dissemination of industry-specific sustainability accounting standards



Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

In 2009, we became the first certified training partner in the United States for the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a non-profit based in Amsterdam that provides organizations with the most widely used, comprehensive sustainability reporting framework in the world. GRI promotes the importance of practicing sustainability and reporting on sustainability performance.

Our signature GRI training course, The GRI Process, provides participants with an overview of the GRI reporting framework, including the five phases of the GRI process. To date, we have trained more than 500 individuals and organizations on the GRI Process. We also provide sustainability training courses through other forums, including webinars, workshops and customized training for our clients. Some of these topics include governance, materiality and a deep-dive into the GRI Performance Indicators, called “Line by Line”.

We also had the opportunity to collaborate with another U.S.-certified training partner, ISOS Group, to provide an overview of GRI at the first GRI USA Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. The event attracted students, government officials and business leaders to raise awareness of sustainability reporting and GRI in the United States. In 2013, ISOS Group and BrownFlynn are partnering with St. Louis University’s John Cook School of Business, St. Louis University Center for Sustainability and the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce to deliver the full two-day curriculum at St. Louis University.

United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD)

We partner with the US BCSD on a webinar series covering topics that include engaging employees around sustainability and understanding the risks and opportunities of water use. The depth of knowledge and experience of our staff and partners allows us to develop curriculum on any topic related to sustainability, and we intend to expand our training offerings in the coming year.


For the past two years, the Corporate Responsibility Officer Association (CROA) hosts the Commit!Forum, bringing together corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability practitioners and thought leaders from around the world to share best practices and learn from industry experts. In 2011 and 2012, BrownFlynn conducted pre-conference workshops on the GRI Process and Governance, respectively, for some of the world’s largest companies and their senior leadership. We are an exclusive conference partner and are looking forward to continuing this partnership into the future.

Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)

In 2011, we became a Silver Consultancy Partner for the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a non-profit organization working to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and manage water and forestry resources sustainably by businesses and cities. As a Partner, we have the ability to review a CDP questionnaire response from submitting companies. This allows us to provide clients valued guidance which, in turn, improves their CDP climate change disclosure and performance scores. We also participate in events such as the annual CDP Workshop from the New York Stock Exchange and webinars. We look forward to continuing our partnership into the future and sharing our expertise with others.

Other Valued Partnerships

BrownFlynn believes in the power and value of collaboration with other organizations. That’s why we belong to and work with several industry associations that bring like-minded companies together to work towards a shared vision. In addition to GRI and CDP, we also work with:

  • Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG)
  • Corporate Responsibility Officer Association (CROA)
  • Corporate Sustainability Network (CSN) at Cleveland State University
  • GreenBiz
  • Industrial Minerals Association of North America (IMA-NA)
  • International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
  • National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI)
  • National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA)
  • Net Impact
  • PRSA
  • Sustainable Cleveland 2019 (SC2019)
  • United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD)
  • United States Green Building Council (USGBC)
  • United States Social Investment Forum (US SIF)

In 2012, we entered into a partnership with The GreenBiz Group, specifically, to author a monthly column that is featured on their website and other social media platforms. GreenBiz is an online sustainability news platform considered the most credible in the field, and we were thrilled to be chosen to contribute to the publication as a content expert. The monthly column, Shift Happens, is focused on positive organizational change and development around sustainability and corporate responsibility. This column gives many of our employees the opportunity to provide valuable insight and knowledge on a variety of topics within this focus area. Furthermore, it provides BrownFlynn the opportunity to be seen and heard as a thought leader in our field. This partnership is a great example of collaboration in the marketplace, and we look forward to continuing our valued relationship in 2013 and beyond.

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Play BrownFlynn’s Monthly Sustainability Crossword Puzzle

After you have become familiar with the sustainability terms in our report and glossary, test your knowledge by completing this month’s puzzle—you might learn something new today!

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Our Clients

ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas (TKE)

BrownFlynn worked with TKE to create the Motion. Movement. Momentum. strategy. We applied cutting edge technology for TKE’s “Create a Cab” tablet interface for customers to visualize elevator designs and TKE’s latest energy efficiency features.

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