Shaw Industries Group, Inc. has released its fourth annual Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) corporate sustainability report. Part of the company’s continued commitment to transparency regarding its sustainability efforts, the new report meets the GRI B+ disclosure requirements.

“The principles of good corporate citizenship – including environmental and social responsibility – have always been a fundamental part of the way we do business,” said Shaw CEO Vance Bell. “Our annual sustainability reporting has become a vital tool in communicating this work to stakeholders around the world.”

“As with many other manufacturers, we have faced a variety of challenges over the past few years, including the global economic downturn, continued struggles within the US housing market and ongoing fluctuations in energy and raw materials markets. These have had an ongoing impact on our customers, our associates and our business,” Bell said.

“Through it all, we have stayed true to our commitment to creating the most beautiful and sustainable flooring in the world, and we believe that our ongoing investment in growth and sustainability initiatives during this time is key to the future creation of new jobs and opportunities – as well as the continued improvement of our environmental and social impact.”

“Ensuring our choices and our actions are good for people, good for the planet and good for business is more important than ever before,” said Paul Murray, Shaw vice president of sustainability and environmental affairs. “In addition to offering a closer look into the way we integrate sustainability practices into our day-to-day business, the process of reflecting on the myriad ways we put this commitment to work in 2011 has also yielded new perspective on our successes – and the opportunities that now lie ahead for us throughout the remainder of 2012 and beyond.”

The report itself marks the second year Shaw has achieved the GRI B level for transparency and disclosure. It is the first year Shaw has earned the + rating, indicating that it has received external assurance from Deloitte & Touche LLP for the report’s content. In addition, the report also received an Application Level Check from the Global Reporting Initiative.

“Consumers, associates, and other stakeholder groups are placing increasing scrutiny on the potential environmental and social impacts of private enterprise,” said Emma Williams, Shaw sustainability and corporate communications manager. “Using a universally recognized reporting framework like GRI gives us the ability to benchmark our strategy and performance against other world-class organizations in a way that is both consistent and transparent.”

Williams said the company’s decision to undergo a rigorous external assurance process was the logical next step in Shaw’s evolving reporting practice. “GRI reporting is a valuable communications vehicle, and it’s also an important continuous improvement tool,” Williams said. “The testing and evaluation involved in an independent review process is one more way we are able to identify and address key opportunities for improving our organizational environmental and social performance. It also gives our stakeholders additional assurance that the content we provide is both substantive and credible.”

“The assurance process is an important opportunity to test our environmental and social responsibility management against world-class standards,” said Shaw CFO Ken Jackson. “Our decision to engage a globally recognized audit, consulting and advisory firm ensured this process was conducted according to rigorous standards.

The assurance engagement performed by Deloitte & Touche LLP was conducted in accordance with the attestation standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Under this standard, a review consists principally of applying analytical procedures, considering management assumptions, methods, and findings, and making inquiries and evaluating responses from persons responsible for sustainability and operational matters.

Sustainability at Work, the Shaw Industries 2011 Corporate Sustainability Report, can be viewed at Print versions of the current report can be requested online.