GRI Unveils Updated Sustainability Guidance – ‘Most Comprehensive Available’

by | Mar 23, 2011

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has released guidelines that it describes as the most comprehensive sustainability reporting guidance now available.

The G3.1 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines feature expanded guidance on issues including local community impacts, human rights and gender, as well as environmental, product responsibility, labor, governance and other existing GRI categories.

Also today, GRI is launching guidance to help companies determine what to measure and report on. The organization says that this publication, Technical Protocol – Apply the Report Content Principles, will allow companies to produce relevant reports more easily.

The G3.1 Guidelines are the last stage in GRI’s current generation of Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The next generation is due to be launched in 2013 and will be the only valid version starting in 2015.

“Together, the Protocol and the new guidance in G3.1 will enable all organizations to be transparent about a wide range of important, but often neglected, issues,” said GRI deputy chief executive Nelmara Arbex.

GRI says that companies that are already reporting on their sustainability performance are entitled to use the current G3 Guidelines or the new G3.1 Guidelines. Both will remain valid until the next generation of guidelines is in place. But the organization recommends that reporters start using G3.1, because it enables them to be transparent about a wider range of sustainability issues.

Companies that are just beginning to report on sustainability issues should begin by adopting G3.1, GRI says.

GRI’s goals include requiring all large and medium-sized companies in OECD countries and fast-growing emerging economies to report publicly on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance by 2015, or if they don’t, explain why. The Netherlands-based non-governmental organization also aims to see a standard for integrated reporting adopted by 2020.

Research by accounting firm KPMG indicates that 79 percent of 250 companies surveyed are reporting sustainability information.

GRI is planning several updates to its support materials to reflect the updated guidelines. Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin versions of G3.1 are expected to be ready later this year.

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