GRI to review sustainability reporting guidelines

The Global Reporting Initiative will no longer be issuing new sets of guidelines but its flagship GRI Standards will now be updated “on an ongoing basis”.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) says it is reviewing its sustainability reporting guidelines for companies and will shift to an approach that can be tailored specifically to an organisation’s needs.

The GRI, an Amsterdam-based standards group known for its GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards, or GRI Standards for short, will no longer issue new ‘generations’ of rules as it has done so in the past. The current set of guidelines is the fourth generation, or G4.

Instead, GRI Standards will be updated on an ongoing basis following public input and consultation, the organisation said in a statement on Wednesday. It wants to include the views of different stakeholders and also plans to develop standards for different sectors.

GRI is an independent non-profit group that helps businesses, governments and other organisations understand and communicate their impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights and corruption. It formulated the GRI Standards, which are used by 7,500 organizations around the world, in the late 1990s.

Eric Hespenheide, chairman of the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), the standard-setting body behind the GRI Standards, said the GRI Standards will be updated on a regular and independent basis.

“GRI Standards will provide tremendous benefits to businesses, governments and stakeholders and can be specifically tailored to an organization’s needs,” he said in the statement. “Practitioners can trust that they represent inclusive multi-stakeholder input and global best practice at any given point in time.”

The transition will take place in four phases: revising G4 content to make it more accessible, consulting with the public, analyzing and incorporating this feedback, and finally publishing the GRI Standards.

Phase one of the transition plan will be completed by the end of 2015, GRI said, and the initial set of the new GRI Standards will be issued during the third quarter of next year. 

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