Master Classes
GRI is working together with expert organizations as master class facilitators to deliver interactive workshops that will build understanding and provide practical guidance on a variety of key sustainability reporting challenges. In addition to the dynamic three day conference program included in the registration cost, GRI offers these add-on master classes designed to give you focused learning moments to empower sustainable decision making.

The 3 hour master classes can be booked for the extra cost of €250 each (excl. 21% VAT), one class can be booked for each day as the classes will be held in parallel on Wednesday the 18th and Friday 20th May. Please note that these classes are not certified by GRI. The maximum number of participants per Master Class is 40, so spaces are limited to those who register first. A digital letter of attendance can be provided to participants after completion.

Wednesday 18 May


Hide/Show09:30-12:30 - Human rights reporting: law and best practice

CLT envirolaw

How can sustainability reporting help companies understand how human rights are relevant to their particular business?

This master class will demonstrate how sustainability reporting can enable companies to better understand how human rights are relevant to good business practice. This session will provide an overview of the legal compliance connected to human rights. Participants will be introduced to how sustainability reporting can be used to assess impacts and what kind of indicators companies should be considering. Hear about best practice developments and case studies, including the different approaches to B&HR from frameworks (such as GRI, UNGC, UNGP and the RAFI Framework) and the opportunities for frameworks to work together.

Hide/Show09:30-12:30 - Show me the impact! Materiality and its reflection in G4 Reports


The Master Class will cover the importance of focusing on the most material topics for sustainability report and where the related impacts occur. It will discuss the pitfalls of reporting on every Aspects and Indicator and explain that sometimes shorter reports are better reports. It will cover the process for defining material topics, and the facilitators will share ideas on various way to go about determining the materiality universe.

We will also discuss several options of presenting the results of a materiality assessment.

Hide/Show09:30-12:30 - How to effectively manage a sustainability program without power, control or authority

The Politics of Sustainability

ERM, Inc.

More often than not, the individual or individuals responsible for developing their organization's sustainability report lack authority, control, power and budgets. They are typically one or two people working in a small team trying to leverage relationships across their companies to gain information, implement new programs and push for organizational change. All of these aspirational objectives must be supported by other functional areas over which these individuals typically have no authority. So the question becomes how do they gain the leverage and influence to impact their broader organization to set and achieve sustainability-related goals?

The aim of this class will be to explore the politics, norms and expectations of organizations to help sustainability professionals operate within these difficult circumstances.

GRI's vision is to create a future where sustainability is integral to every organization's decision making process, to do so, we must equip sustainability professionals with the political know how to appropriately influence their organizations.

Hide/Show09:30-12:30 - How to Breathe Life into your Sustainability Data


Reliable data is at the heart of transparent and meaningful sustainability reporting.

This Master Class will aim to address why it is important for reporting organizations to move beyond the sustainability report itself to ensure that decision makers have access to the high quality and reliable data they are increasingly demanding. We will discuss the state of global sustainability data, and what organizations can do to move beyond the sustainability report to ensure quality and reliability of data which is meaningful to different audiences. This practical Master Class will lead participants through how data can be presented to different audiences and stakeholders, to open up sustainability data to more than just the boardroom.

Hide/Show09:30-12:30 - Chain reaction – better value for business through supply chain transparency and reporting 


Are you a sustainability reporting practitioner looking to enhance your supply chain  reporting? Are you seeking to understand how you can use existing reporting systems to advance your sustainability goals? Join GRI’s own master class in supply chain transparency and reporting to build your knowledge and share best practice with peers and experts. 

During this session you will:
• Explore current supply chain issues and understand how business is responding
• Look at global responses to supply chain risks and how they are being turned into opportunities
• Explore the business case for transparency within your supply chain
• Take a deep dive into the GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines to discover how other organizations reported on their supply chain issues
• Be equipped with the skills you need to start reporting on your key supply chain issues

Friday 20 May


Hide/Show14:30-17:30 - Corporate Responsibility Reporting: Lessons from leaders


KPMG has researched trends in Corporate Responsibility (CR) reporting for more than 22 years. This masterclass explores recent reporting trends, provides lessons from CR reporting leaders and presents findings from KPMG’s Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2015 (

Participants of this masterclass will learn:

- How CR reporting  is developing across 45 countries and among the world’s largest 250 companies

- Key lessons from companies delivering top quality CR reports

- Current best practice in CR reporting across KPMG’s seven criteria for quality CR reports (strategy, risk & opportunity, materiality, supply chain, transparency & balance, CR governance, performance indicators and stakeholder engagement)

- How to overcome reporting challenges and areas for improvement

Wim Bartels, KPMG’s Global Head of Sustainability Reporting & Assurance, will lead this session, highlighting aspects of CR reporting where some companies excel, and areas some find more challenging.  In this interactive workshop, participants will have the chance to hear from peers on how they have overcome reporting challenges, along with new ideas and solutions for CR reporting, facilitated by KPMG professionals.

Hide/Show14:30-17:30 - Management Techniques to Handle Sustainability Effectively

STREAM Management

Sustainability professionals focus on familiarizing themselves with S sustainability related guidelines and standards. However, they occasionally neglect (or are unaware) of widely used management techniques in other business areas (e.g. marketing, human resources, business excellence), which can easily be used for a Sustainability Manager to become a better Manager and therefore master sustainability in a more systematic, effective and efficient way.

The Master Class will help participants understand how to utilize such management techniques, related both to systems (e.g. Balanced Scorecard, Quality Management, Change Management), as well as people (e.g. Situational Leadership, Motivational Management, One-to-One Communication) to manage various sustainability topics (such as strategy development, materiality analysis, performance measurement, program deployment etc). The Master Class will be based on case studies and examples from leading organizations around the world who apply such techniques, individual exercises to familiarize with taught techniques, while information regarding skills and competencies of effective Sustainability Managers from research and studies will be presented.

Hide/Show14:30-17:30 - Materiality and Boundary - The Silver Bullet for Investors and corporate professionals


Materiality is probably the most used term in discussions around corporate socially reporting (CSR) and Responsible Investing. In the environmental, social and governance (ESG) context, materiality is much more than just an accounting principle. Materiality is at the core of the discussion about “what really counts," what responsibility means from an investment and a corporate perspective, and who the relevant stakeholder groups are that should have a say in this debate. The challenge is that “materiality” means very different things to different people.

But where to begin? An obvious starting point are investors, which can undoubtedly be a key target group for corporate reporting (financial and non-financial). At first glance, looking at investors has the big advantage of being able to assume a common main interest, which is the survival and financial well-being of the company they are invested in. However, materiality has a time dimension linked to it. Furthermore, the relative nature of materiality is also caused by the structures of the environment in which investors and their agents operate.

This session will cover materiality with a mixed group of stakeholders and arrive at a list of recommendations on how to move ahead in its effort to incorporate materiality considerations that help to set reporting boundaries (report only what matters and where it matters) in their reporting guidelines.

Hide/Show14:30-17:30 - Sustainability Communications: The New Rules of Engagement

Weber Shandwick

As companies are pursuing sustainability reporting now more than ever, many are discovering that the true value of the pursuit lies not only in the final product, but also in the process taken to produce that final product.

By conducting a materiality assessment and measuring, tracking and disclosing relevant sustainability information, companies have new material at their fingertips that can lead to meaningful goal setting, continuous improvement, and a heightened emphasis on stakeholder and employee engagement.

One significant benefit to the reporting process is in the multitude of storytelling material that is uncovered. By leveraging that information to creatively tell your sustainability story (and not just in the report that is released), an organization can build collaborative and trusting relationships with investors, employees, influencers and other important stakeholders.

But in today's communications landscape, information is endless and comes at us from many sources. It’s no longer just about engaging key audiences with a story. Today, audiences must be engaged IN the story and invited to have a conversation. It’s an important distinction across the broader communications landscape, and one that has specific implications for communicating sustainability information to stakeholders such as civil society, investors, NGO’s and governmental organizations

This Master Class will explore the "Rules of Engagement" for leveraging information gathered in the sustainability reporting process to effectively engage key audiences, particularly as a means of building and maintaining trust. Participants will learn from best-in-class examples that illustrate how to be part of this movement towards transparency by bringing sustainability stories to life across channels, in ways that are creative, original and, above all, engaging.