GRI proposes governance reform

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27 May 2014

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has announced a series of proposed governance changes which are designed to strengthen its role as a standard setter for sustainability reporting and enhance global acceptance of its role. The proposed changes include the creation of a separate standard setting side of GRI, including a new Sustainability Reporting Standards Board (SRSB), reforms to due process including a new Due Process Oversight Committee (DPOC), and the creation of an independent appointment process through an Independent Appointments Committee (IAC).

The overall governance structure proposed by the GRI includes the new standard setting arrangements, new protocols for due process and transparency, and the establishment of an independent public funding base for the standard setting activities.

Some of the key features of the proposed standard setting arrangements are set out below:

Sustainability Reporting Standards Board (SRSB)
  • An independent operating entity under the auspices of GRI (and solely funded by it) with sole responsibility for setting globally accepted standards for sustainability reporting, including complete responsibility for all SRSB technical matters
  • Creates Sustainability Reporting Standards (SRSs), related interpretations and guidance, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) which are considered authoritative pronouncements
  • Creates authoritative pronouncements in the public interest, and is sole judge of whether such pronouncements are in the public interest
  • Comprised of 15 members drawn from various identified stakeholder constituencies and appointed for three year terms (renewable once) by the Independent Appointments Committee (IAC)
  • Required to follow due process under a Due Process Protocol (also subject to consultation), including setting its technical agenda, publishing and considering feedback on exposure drafts, considering project working groups, public hearings and field tests (as considered necessary), publishing basis for conclusions with SRSs, and ensuring meetings are open to the public (including making agenda papers and other documents available in advance of meetings)
Due Process Oversight Committee (DPOC)
  • An independent committee under the auspices of GRI (and funded by it) with primary responsibility for ensuring that the standard setting activities of the SRSB are conducted in accordance with its due process
  • Comprised of four ordinary members, plus a Chair, appointed by the Independent Appointments Committee (IAC) for three year terms (renewable once)
  • Confirms due process has been followed before an authoritative pronouncements can be issued, but does not consider any technical assessment of proposed SRSs when forming an opinion on due process
Independent Appointments Committee (IAC)
  • An independent committee under the auspices of GRI (and solely funded by it) with primary responsibility for appointing qualified, competent, disinterested persons, of independent mind, to the Sustainability Reporting Standards Board (SRSB) and the Due Process Oversight Committee (DPOC)
  • Comprised of five members (one elected as a Chair), appointed by the GRI Board on recommendation of the GRI Global Nominations Committee
  • Meets annually or as necessary to fill vacancies in accordance with outlined criteria and other requirements

The GRI governance proposals are open for comment until 9 July 2014. Click for GRI announcement and access to the detailed proposals on the GRI website.

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