GRI Releases First Set of Sustainability Reporting Standards for Public Comment

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The first set of exposure drafts of GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards (GRI Standards) is now available for public comment.

GRI Standards will include the same main concepts and all relevant disclosures from G4, in an improved structure, format, and presentation. There will be three ‘universal’ standards applicable to all organizations, and approximately 35 ‘topic-specific’ standards based on the Aspects within G4.

According to comments made by Eric Hespenheide, Chair of the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), “The sustainable development agenda has gathered significant pace in the last 12 months, illustrated most notably by the Paris Climate Change Agreement opening for signature later this week.”

Additionally, GRI Standards feature clearer distinctions between requirements; denoted by ‘shall’, recommendations; denoted by ‘should’, and guidance sections. Content from G4 has been edited to improve clarity and simplify language, which will make the standards more user-friendly.

Additional clarifications have also been provided for elements of G4 that were commonly misunderstood, such as how to define the topic ‘Boundary’ and how to report on topics not covered by GRI Standards. The new modular structure will enable individual standards to be updated independently, ensuring that the standards remain consistent with authoritative intergovernmental instruments and best-practice.

For a period of 90 days, anyone can review the initial set of six GRI Standards and offer feedback to the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB); the independent standard-setting body, which acts in the public interest to develop and approve GRI Standards.

Comments on the revised format and structure of GRI Standards can be submitted via the GRI Consultation Platform, accessible via the GRI website. You can also provide your feedback at the 5th GRI Global Conference on 18 – 20 May 2016 in Amsterdam, and during a series of webinars and workshops. The public exposure of GRI Standards ensures they are developed through a multi-stakeholder approach as set out in the Due Process Protocol.

For more information about the transition to GRI Standards, the public comment period or the 5th GRI Global Conference, click here.

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