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Statement from GRI on the passing of Ernst Ligteringen
16 June 2017
It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Ernst Ligteringen on June 15th. Ernst joined GRI in 2002, and transitioned it from a project that was started under CERES and Tellus Institute, in Boston, US,  into an independent international organization with a solid independent governance structure and system. He was instrumental in establishing GRI’s leadership position in sustainability reporting with a balanced focus on economic, environmental, social and human rights issues.  Ernst developed the evolution of the sustainability reporting guidelines towards G3, then G4 and finally the GRI Standards. He introduced GRI’s organizational stakeholder program, which acquired more than 600 members in just a few years, and developed GRI’s training program with certified trainers on all continents.
 
Tim Mohin, Chief Executive, GRI: “Everyone at GRI is devastated at the news of Ernst’s passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Ernst’s legacy will extend far beyond what he has done for our organization. In part due to his efforts, sustainability reporting has become a commonplace practice for many organizations, leading to greater transparency and in turn the ability to transform the world. We are very grateful for everything he has done and are proud to continue to build on what he started.”
 
Christianna Wood, Chairman of the Board, GRI: “Ernst led GRI through a period of tremendous growth and success, including numerous evolutions of our sustainability reporting standards.  He demonstrated great vision and leadership, not just on behalf of GRI but alongside many of our partners in the sustainability field.  His contribution was significant and he will be missed by many friends including current and former employees, board members and partners.”
 
Teresa Fogelberg, Deputy Chief Executive, GRI: “Ernst was tireless in his pursuit of a world where companies and other organizations hold themselves accountable for the full range of impacts they have on the economy, the environment and society. His incredible ability to unite people, behind the cause of corporate transparency, was second only to his passion for social justice. Ernst will continue to inspire all of us here at GRI. It was a great adventure to work with him for so many years."
 
Bob Massie, co-founder of GRI: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of my great friend, Ernst Ligteringen, who was as responsible as anyone in the world for the success of GRI.  The transition of GRI from a bold start-up to a crucial international institution required a leader with exceptional strategic, diplomatic, and analytical skills; a man who could speak many different languages, both culturally and linguistically, and a leader who could handle a thousand details and relationships without ever losing sight of our long-term goals.  Behind his quiet style and patient temperament lay a soul filled with empathy, compassion, and wit. In his relentless pursuit of a just and sustainable society, he was both visionary and practical.  Though the world has lost a wise and effective leader, we will never forget his decisive contribution to the advancement of sustainability.  He laid the foundation for many generations of future progress, and for that we will be eternally grateful.”
 
Allen White, co-founder of GRI: “An excruciatingly painful end to a life, given to the betterment of humanity.  His service to Oxfam, ILO and GRI are exemplary, as was his warmth, steady hand and love for family.  I've lost a dear friend and colleague.  The world has lost a distinguished sustainability advocate.  Ernst's legacy will endure among all who knew him among those who never had the privilege but will continue to benefit from his life of giving.”
 
Mervyn E. King, Chairman Emeritus, GRI: “I worked closely with Ernst for many years promoting sustainability. His legacy is in the continued prominence of the GRI standards on sustainable reporting and capitalism.”
 
GRI has set up an online tribute to commemorate Ernst Ligteringen. Please leave your own message at condolences@globalreporting.org.