Refreshed global leadership for GRI Board

Multi-stakeholder appointments to GRI’s governance bodies

GRI, provider of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting standards, has announced changes to its Board of Directors.

The appointments come at a time when corporate sustainability is high on the global agenda – reinforced by the impact of the pandemic and the need to quicken progress on the Sustainable Development Goals – all of which emphasize GRI’s leadership role as an enabler for transparency and accountability.

The four new Board appointees, which take effect from January 2021, are:

  • Bola Adeeko – Division Head, Shared Services, Nigerian Stock Exchange (Nigeria)
  • Esther An – Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Limited (CDL) (Singapore)
  • Cristina Gil – Vice President Sustainability, Orbia (Mexico)
  • Marina Grossi – President of CEBDS (Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development) (Brazil)

Departing having served their terms are: Olaf Brugman (Rabobank, Head of Sustainable Capital Markets, Brazil); Özlem Denizmen (Dogus Group, Social Investments Executive VP, Turkey); Lance Gokongwei (President and Chief Executive, JG Summit Holdings,  Philippines); Connie Lindsey (Northern Trust, Executive VP and Head of CSR, USA); and Kevin McKinley (President and CEO, Canadian Wood Council, Canada).

Also announced today are appointments to the Global Sustainability Standards Board, the independent board that sets the GRI Standards, and the Stakeholder Council, GRI’s multi-stakeholder advisory body.

Eric Hespenheide, Chair of the GRI Board, said:

“Throughout all of our activities, GRI strives for multi-stakeholder and international representation, which reflects the global relevance and adoption of the GRI Standards. I am therefore pleased to welcome Bola, Esther, Gil and Marina – from four different continents and contributing a diversity of experience – to the Board.

My thanks go to the departing board members for their service and commitment to GRI’s mission over the past few years. Going forward, I am confident that our refreshed governance will continue to provide the strategic input and direction required to drive forward our work as the catalyst for a sustainable world.”

Bola Adeeko said:

“I am honored to be appointed to the Board of GRI, which remains the ‘gold standard’ in sustainability reporting. GRI has been an invaluable partner in advancing corporate responsibility in Africa, consistently deepening its engagement with stakeholders. I look forward to working with the Board and management team, to build on successes achieved so far in promoting sustainable business practices that deliver positive change.”

Esther An said:

“I am delighted to join the GRI Board as sustainability is now a mainstream business agenda. It’s also a momentous time as leading frameworks have pledged to collaborate for harmonization of global reporting standards. By contributing my reporting experience, it’s my hope to support the important work of GRI to raise the bar for strategic sustainability integration and transparency in the fast-growing Asian region.”  

Cristina Gil said:

“The rigor GRI has brought to sustainability reporting is unparalleled, transforming how companies approach their commitments to transparency. This has been enabled by increasing and widespread adoption and recognition of the GRI Standards. What inspires me most is that GRI considers and values input from all stakeholders. I am honored and excited to be able to play a role in GRI’s continued evolution.”

Marina Grossi said:

“It is a pleasure to be part of GRI Board at this critical moment. GRI has a crucial role in the decade of implementation, helping companies be more sustainable. We need to speed up the transition, align investors, companies and green projects towards a low carbon, more diverse, circular economy. We need to see new partnerships and build consensus and I will do my best to help GRI achieve this goal.”

Additionally, Volker Höntsch has been reappointed as Chair of the Due Process Oversight Committee. On GRI’s Independent Appointments Committee, Helen Barton (Chair) and Bruno Bastit are both reappointed.

Girish Ramachandran (President Asia Pacific, TATA Consultancy Services, Singapore), and Meredith Miller (Chief Corporate Governance Officer, UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, USA), have been reappointed to the Board for a second term.

Alongside Mr Hespenheide, the other continuing GRI Board members are:           

  • Jack Ehnes – CEO, California State Teachers Employees' Retirement System (USA)
  • Eelco van der Enden – Partner, PwC (Netherlands)
  • Jessica Fries – Chief Executive, A4S (UK)
  • Molly Harris Olson – CEO, Fairtrade Australia (Australia)
  • Jianzhong Lu – China President, Weir Group (China)
  • Bekeme Masade-Olowola – Executive Director, CSR-in-Action (Nigeria)
  • Jyrki Raina – Global Industrial Relations Expert (Finland)

Appointments to the Board are on a voluntary basis and members serve a term of three years. The membership is refreshed on a regular basis with a global public call for applications. 

New board member biographies

Bola Adeeko heads the Shared Services Division of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, where he is responsible for shaping the technology agenda and driving innovation. A seasoned business leader, he has a track record of over 25 years with global companies, including Sara Lee Corporation, First Data Corporation and JP Morgan Chase. Bola is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, Nigeria, and holds several non-executive director positions. An Associate of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, he is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and INSEAD.

Esther An is an advocate for green building and sustainability and is responsible for CDL’s sustainability leadership, which in 2020 was ranked the top real estate company in the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World. She played a pivotal role in the establishment of GRI’s ASEAN Hub in 2019 and is a founding member of GRI ASEAN Consortium. In 2018, she was recognized by UN Global Compact as a SDG Pioneer, while she also the founder of the Women4Green and Youth4Climate initiatives. Esther’s board roles include the World Green Building Council, Asia Pacific Real Estate Association, and Global Compact Network Singapore.

Cristina Gil White is Vice president of Sustainability for Orbia, a Mexican multinational in precision agriculture, building and infrastructure, fluorine mining, data communication and polymer production. She has overseen efforts to increase transparency and reporting, improve supply chain assessment and launch social and environmental impact programs that contribute to global sustainability goals. Cristina’s previous career was in the nonprofit sector, including The Nature Conservancy, Pronatura Noreste, Rare Conservation, and Fundación Educa. She is a board member of Jimbere Fund, CEDO (Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans) and Smartest Energy, and holds a Master’s in Environmental Studies.

Marina Grossi is president of CEBDS, the non-profit association that promotes sustainable development by companies in Brazil, and brings more than 30 years strong experience in sustainable finance and climate risk. Her previous roles include five years as a negotiator at the Conferences of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Marina serves in various governance and advisory roles, including the Network of Brazilian Women Leaders for Sustainability, Banco do Brasil Foundation, the Economic and Social Development Council of the Presidency of Brazil, and Brazilian Green Finance Initiative.