GRI opens second comment period on its next generation sustainability reporting guidelines

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28 Jun 2012

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has released an exposure draft of the next generation of its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines ('G4'). This document outlines the G4 project development and the proposed significant changes to the current Guidelines.

This document calls for comments on five specific areas of revision on which GRI is seeking public feedback:

  • Application levels - it is proposed to discontinue the 'Application Levels', originally designed to assist organisations in communicating the degree of transparency of their sustainability reports against the Guidelines.  This is on the basis the levels are currently wrongly understood by some report users to be an opinion on the quality of the report, or even a reflection of the sustainability performance of the organisation
  • Boundary - Revisions are proposed to the process in the existing protocols to better direct organisations on how to define the content and boundaries of a sustainability report in one sequence of process steps, thus to answer the question of what to report
  • Disclosure on management approach - The ED outlines a generic approach for all topics and proposes that the 'Disclosures on Management Approach' (explaining how an entity is managing material economic, environmental, and social impacts) should be provided at the Aspect level to reflect management practices
  • Governance - The ED has proposed a number of changes to governance and remuneration disclosures to strengthen the link between governance and sustainability performance
  • Supply chain - New and amended disclosures on the supply chain are proposed, including new definitions and disclosure of the procurement practice, screening and assessment as well as remediation.

The Exposure Draft also outlines proposed amendments to improve the clarity and technical quality of the text as well as to facilitate the implementation of the guidelines.

The Exposure Draft does not deal with the following matters, which are expected to be dealt with in due course:

  • proposed updates to two or more of the following thematic topics: Anti-corruption, Biodiversity, Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions and Occupational Health and Safety - a further comment document is expected in August 2012
  • how to link the sustainability reporting process to the preparation of an integrated report aligned with the guidance to be developed by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).

Comment on the exposure draft are open until 25 September 2012, with the GRI seeking to launch the new sustainability guidelines in 2013.

Click for GRI press release (link to GRI website).

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