Creating the Portrait

Reporting Process

Every 15 minutes, almost 43 million text messages are sent in the United States.6

Stakeholder Engagement

To understand the issues and opportunities our stakeholders find most significant to our organization, BrownFlynn actively engaged internal and external stakeholders in the 2008/2009 reporting process. For this report, we focused mainly on employee engagement activities. To determine progress on the goals set in 2008/2009, the sustainability teams reported new activities, progress on goals, suggested modifications and other updates during monthly staff meetings. In addition, our reporting staff interviewed each sustainability team leader to measure goal status, opportunities and challenges their teams encountered throughout the reporting year.

To set new goals, our reporting staff surveyed the Principals and staff of BrownFlynn to evaluate the current team structure, share best practices and success stories, identify areas of improvement and map material topics for BrownFlynn’s 2010/2011 sustainability goals. An executive summary of the survey findings was prepared and shared at a facilitated half-day workshop for the entire BrownFlynn staff. At this workshop, the organic assimilation of goals and retirement of some of the sustainability teams took place and new goals were set for 2010/2011.

While we used these specific methods of engagement as a formal part of the reporting process, stakeholder engagement is an ongoing effort. In addition to annual staff retreats and performance reviews, BrownFlynn encourages frequent internal stakeholder engagement and transparency through monthly staff meetings and weekly project update sessions attended by all employees.

To demonstrate our deep commitment to stakeholder engagement, BrownFlynn partnered with the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) to conduct a landmark stakeholder engagement survey.  ISD, also known as GreenPlus ( is a national, North Carolina Research Triangle-based nonprofit that assists small- and medium-sized organizations with their sustainability efforts.  ISD partners with academic institutions UNC, Duke University, NC State, Elon University and chambers of commerce in their efforts. The survey and final report focused on the importance of stakeholder engagement in developing an organization’s sustainability strategy. Responses from almost 200 businesses, nonprofits and governmental agencies uncovered how various organizations and companies value and practice stakeholder engagement and how it impacts their sustainability efforts. For a full version of the final report, click here. BrownFlynn and ISD intend to conduct the survey on a biennial basis going forward.

We welcome stakeholder feedback specific to this report or our sustainability commitment and activities at


The GRI materiality principle asserts that report content and sustainability goals should be material, or relevant, to a reporting organization and its stakeholders for maximum effectiveness. Material issues or topics:

According to GRI, an organization should report on all of its material topics, typically associated with specific G3 performance indicators. To do so, the organization should either fully disclose relevant performance data or information, or explain the reason for excluding certain performance information from the report.

During the 2008/2009 reporting cycle, BrownFlynn engaged in a materiality exercise to determine which issues are most significant to our Company and stakeholders. For this year’s goal setting process, we identified no significant changes to our material issues. Because we are a small consulting Firm, some of the GRI indicators are not as relevant to our business as they might be to a manufacturing company or one that is significantly larger in size. However, we have included material topics that reflect significant impacts relative to our own organization (for example, transportation impacts) even if they represent a relatively small impact in comparison to other organizations. We also included topics in which our impact may be small (for example, water use) but for which we feel responsible for managing as a part of our commitment to the environmental pillar of sustainability.

A complete list of material indicators can be found in our GRI Content Index with reference to fully disclosed information or reasons for not including certain information in this report. Click here to access our GRI Content Index.