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The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), which provides an ESG reporting framework, is seeking public comment for revisions to its Universal Standards. To understand why they’re doing this and why it’s important for corporate sustainability reporting, we talked with Siobhan Cleary, Director of Capital Markets Engagement at GRI.
The GRI Standards are the most widely-used sustainability reporting standards globally. They provide a common language and credible set of disclosures for any organization to communicate effectively about their impacts on the economy, the environment, and people. The GRI Standards are available for all organizations as a free public good at www.globalreporting.org. With the GRI Standards, organizations of all sizes and sectors can report on their impacts and show how they contribute to sustainable development.
The Universal Standards are the foundation of the GRI Standards and apply to every organization that report their impacts based on the GRI Standards. The revised Universal Standards are as follows:
GRI’s Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB) initiated the review of the Universal Standards in March 2019. The objective was to ensure the GRI Standards are as relevant and comprehensive as possible, while reflecting the latest developments in responsible business conduct and respect for human rights. To conduct this work, GRI convened an expert, multistakeholder panel representing the voice of investors, companies, academia, civil society, labor and government. Among other things, the revisions increase alignment between the GRI Standards and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the OECD’s guidelines and tools on responsible business conduct.
More specifically, the proposed updates to the three Universal Standards include:
These revisions impact all users of corporate sustainability reporting data – from investors, to civil society, to companies. We therefore encourage everyone who is interested in what is reported, how it is disclosed and the quality of the information provided to respond. Specifically, the GSSB is looking for feedback from all stakeholders on the clarity, completeness, feasibility, and relevance of the proposed changes.
This is your opportunity to make sure GRI reporting works for you.
People can watch an introductory video explaining the changes to the Universal Standards and access other relevant resources on the GRI Standards webpage.
Please visit the GRI Standards webpage for engagement opportunities that GRI will schedule throughout the public consultation.
People are also welcome to reach out to [email protected].