The Global Reporting Initiative has confirmed Eelco van der Enden, a partner at PwC Netherlands, as the next CEO of the sustainability standard-setter, starting Jan. 1, 2022.
Van der Enden has been global ESG platform leader for tax, legal, people and organization services at PwC and brings more than 20 years of experience in financial and sustainability senior management roles to GRI.
He will be leading the organization during a crucial time when the world is experiencing the accelerating effects of climate change, with the United Nations set to kick off its COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on Sunday. GRI and other standard-setters in the environmental, social and governance area have been coming under pressure to align their standards and frameworks more closely, and GRI is one of the groups that will be advising the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation as it works to establish an International Sustainability Standards Board that it will be overseeing alongside the International Accounting Standards Board.
“I am hugely excited by the opportunities open to GRI and look forward to leading the organization into the next stage of their growth,” Van der Enden said in a statement Wednesday. “Around the world, we are seeing increased demands for businesses to be accountable for their impacts — by all stakeholders, from regulators and shareholders all the way to consumers and future employees. That accountability cannot be achieved without the comprehensive sustainability disclosure that is achieved through the adoption of the GRI standards.”
GRI chair Eric Hespenheide welcomed him as the new CEO. “I am pleased to confirm that the search for a new leader for GRI has concluded with the appointment from January of Eelco van der Enden as our CEO,” Hespenheide said in a statement. “As a GRI board member for two years and having served on the committee that designed the GRI Tax Standard, Eelco already has a deep understanding of and commitment to our mission and values.”
Last week, GRI announced changes to its governance structure, setting up a two-tier board and appointing new chairs of the new supervisory board and the board of directors.
One of van der Enden’s colleagues at PwC expressed her support for his new role. “Eelco has always been passionate about broader corporate reporting and the responsibility business has to the planet and society – a passion he has successfully communicated both within PwC and to our clients and stakeholders,” said PwC global reporting leader Nadja Picard in a statement. “While we are sorry to lose such a valued colleague, we are very proud that Eelco has been appointed to lead GRI, supporting the important global convergence of ESG reporting standards. We wish him all the best for the future.”