The Global Reporting Initiative expects to soon unveil the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards, improving how the G4 Guidelines, adopted in 2013, are reported.
The G4 Guidelines were an improvement on the previous reporting guidelines, helping provide more context around sustainability and push toward an integrated form of reporting on financial, social, and environmental metrics.
However, over the past three years, the G4 guidelines proved complicated, daunting, and included a number of elements that were “too often misinterpreted or inconsistently applied.”
Eric Hespenheide, interim chief executive the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and chair of Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB) for GRI, recently discussed how the G4 Guidelines aren’t going away, but how the new GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards will help reduce complexity and increase standardization.
“GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards is the latest step in the evolution of the guidelines, aimed at enhancing the credibility and adoption of the standards around the world. The new modular structure will allow the standards to be kept more up-to-date and aligned with international instruments in the future. To keep pace with developments in reporting practices or regulation, the new structure will enable additional sustainability topics to be added, with greater ease,” Hespenheide said.
The G4 Guidelines – including the data required to create a GRI report – aren’t changing (“This isn’t G5,” Hespenheide said.), but the modular formatting will help companies more clearly and accurately report on material topics in a way that is comparable across industries, and will allow flexibility when adding or changing specific reporting areas as the field evolves.
Ideally, by continually improving the standards AND making the reporting tool and methodology modular and more accessible, more and more organizations will begin producing GRI reports, pushing companies more toward credible, standardized sustainability reporting.
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