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By Michael Kraten, PhD, CPA

The Opening Ceremony’s Parade of Nations may prove to be the most unique event of the 2024 Paris Olympics. Instead of situating the event in a stadium, the Olympic Committee will place the athletes on boats and send them down the River Seine.

The plan, though, isn’t without controversy. For more than 500 years, the banks of the Seine have been the site of 900 tiny wooden bookstores. This locale of the Bouquinistes de Paris (i.e. Booksellers of Paris) is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Olympic Committee, though, has decided to remove the Bouquinistes to make room for the Opening Ceremony. It claims that security considerations necessitate the removal, but booksellers, book buyers, and historical preservationists are protesting the action.

So how can the booksellers support their case for preservation? They may find help in sustainability metrics. For instance, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the United Nations (UN) publish two of the most widely used sets of standards.

GRI 413 (Local Communities) contains two disclosure requirements; the first one is called 413-1 Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs. And UN Sustainable Development Goals 4 (Quality Education) and 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) contain several relevant target indicators, including 4.6.1 Proportion of population …. achieving at leased a fixed level of … functional literacy …

The Bouquinistes are undoubtedly arguing that their book stalls engage with the local community and help support the functional literacy of residents. Such arguments are significantly strengthened when they are supported by quantitative evidence that is compiled in accordance with universally respected standards.

That’s why sustainability metrics from organizations like the GRI and UN are so helpful. They provide the standards and define the metrics that help organizations measure their value.

Originally published at All rights reserved by author.