Next Generation of Sustainability Reporting Guidelines Released

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GLOBE-Net, May 22, 2013 – Global business leaders have called on companies and organizations around the world to embrace G4, the next generation of the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.  

At the opening of GRI’s 2013 Global Conference in Amsterdam, G4 was unveiled before an audience of 1,600 thought leaders and practitioners from around the globe. Experienced reporters welcomed the publication of the Guidelines as a major step forward in the evolution of sustainability reporting. 

“In today’s world, the increasing demand for sustainability information is inevitable. Increasingly governments, stock exchanges, investors, and society at large are calling on companies to be transparent about their sustainability goals and performance. But this demand is also a demand for sustainability related information that matters. This is what G4 is about.” Nelmara Arbex, Deputy Chief Executive at GRI (who has led the development of G4)  

[stextbox id=”custom” float=”true” width=”200″ bcolor=”add3d5″ bgcolor=”add3d5″ image=”null”]G4 has been significantly revised and enhanced in order to reflect important current and future trends in the sustainability reporting landscape. [/stextbox]

The latest evolution of the GRI Guidelines – part of the most widely used comprehensive sustainability reporting framework in the world – enable all companies and organizations to report on their economic, environmental, social and governance performance. 

 

G4 Objectives include:

  • Be user-friendly for beginner and experienced reporters
  • Improve technical quality, including clearer definitions
  • Align with other international reporting references (frameworks, e.g. OECD MNE Guidelines, the United Nations Global Compact Principles, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights)
  • Lead to reports that cover material topics
  • Offer guidance on how to link sustainability and integrated reporting, aligned with the IIRC
  • Improve data access (XBRL)

By placing an even greater emphasis on the concept of materiality, G4 will encourage reporting organizations to provide only disclosures and indicators that are material to their business, on the basis of a dialogue with their stakeholders. 

This will allow reporting organizations and report users alike to concentrate on the economic, environmental, and social impacts that really matter, resulting in reports that are more strategic, more focused and more credible, as well as easier for stakeholders to navigate. 

Further new features of G4:

  • Separation between “What to report on” from “How to report” – greater clarity on what is requirement and what is explanation
  • Technical improvements – clearer definitions and consistent technical edition
  • Assurance – more guidance on how to disclose the approach taken for assurance
  • Clearer references to Integrated Reporting
  • Reference to latest international development covering Supply Chain, Governance, Anti-corruption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Nelmara Arbex, Deputy Chief Executive at GRI, further described G4 as following: “It is a tool for demonstrating the effort reporters have made in integrating sustainability into their core business strategy, with benefits for business and society alike. The GRI Guidelines are designed to support organizations in this strategic journey – to help them to measure and manage change, and to communicate their understanding about the connections between sustainability and business.” 

Ernst Ligteringen, GRI Chief Executive, added: “The G4 Guidelines are unique; they are created in consultation with hundreds of experts from around the world, through an inclusive process that captures input and ideas from thousands of individuals and organizations. These contributors draw on their collective knowledge and cumulative experience, to connect the best practices of the past with new solutions with which to tackle the challenges of the future. This is the time to focus our efforts and resources on what really matters and what needs to change.” 

The launch of G4 marks the culmination of two years of extensive stakeholder consultation and dialogue as part of a strict and transparent due process. Working Groups from across the world, comprising 120 specialists from constituencies as diverse as field experts, labor, business and civil society, have contributed. Two public consultation periods in 2011 and 2012 generated a total of more than 2,500 responses. 

The G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines are available online:

(Part 1) Reporting Principles and Standards

(Part 2) Implementation Manual

About GRI:

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) promotes the use of sustainability reporting as a way for organizations to become more sustainable and contribute to a sustainable global economy. GRI’s mission is to make sustainability reporting standard practice. To enable all companies and organizations to report their economic, environmental, social and governance performance, GRI produces free Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. For further information, see www.globalreporting.org.


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