The GRI, Global Reporting Initiative, the pioneer of sustainable reporting has recently issued the world’s first global standards on sustainability reporting.  The GRI Standards help businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate the impact of business on critical sustainability issues.

The new GRI Standards will be required for all Sustainability reports and other materials (published according to the GRI Standards) on or after 1 July 2018. Earlier adoption is encouraged although the pre-existing guidelines for sustainability reporting (the G4 Guidelines) remain in effect until this date.




Benefits of reporting

Internal benefits for companies and organizations can include:

  • Increased understanding of risks and opportunities
  • Emphasizing the link between financial and non-financial performance
  • Influencing long term management strategy and policy, and business plans
  • Streamlining processes, reducing costs and improving efficiency
  • Benchmarking and assessing sustainability performance with respect to laws, norms, codes, performance standards, and voluntary initiatives
  • Avoiding being implicated in publicized environmental, social and governance failures
  • Comparing performance internally, and between organizations and sectors

External benefits of sustainability reporting can include:

  • Mitigating – or reversing – negative environmental, social and governance impacts
  • Improving reputation and brand loyalty
  • Enabling external stakeholders to understand the organization’s true value, and tangible and intangible assets
  • Demonstrating how the organization influences, and is influenced by, expectations about sustainable development

What you should do?

Consider if you have an up to date report on Sustainability for your organization.

  • If you do, has it been prepared in line with the new GRI Standards? If otherwise, how do you plan to make the transition from the G4 Guidelines to the new GRI Standards?
  • If you don’t currently prepare sustainability report, are you clear about where to start from?
  • Do you have a robust internal framework for identifying the material topics to report on, gathering the relevant organizational data and reporting on sustainability?
  • Has your reporting framework been reviewed for compliance with best practices and industry norms?
  • Have your internal stakeholders been made aware of the implication of the new GRI Standards for the organization?

Value of sustainability reporting

The value of the sustainability reporting process is that it ensures organizations consider their impacts on these sustainability issues, and enables them to be transparent about the risks and opportunities they face.

Stakeholders also play a crucial role in identifying these risks and opportunities for organizations, particularly those that are non-financial. This increased transparency leads to better decision making, which helps build and maintain trust in businesses and governments.

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