Changes to improve how organisations use the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards to disclose their impacts on the economy, environment and people have been made available for global consultation.
In the Australian construction industry, companies such as John Holland Group, Lendlease, Fletcher Building Limited and Hastings Deering are currently reporting to the GRI.
The Standards apply to all organisations that report their impacts based on the GRI Standards. As such, they have a crucial role to not only increase uptake in sustainability reporting but also to improve quality and comparability.
From 11 June, a three-month public comment period aims to gather feedback on an exposure draft that revises the Universal Standards. In the biggest update since GRI transitioned in 2016 from providing guidelines to setting globally applicable standards, the proposed changes to the foundations of all reporting through GRI seek to ensure companies show full transparency for their impacts on sustainable development.
The updates to the three Universal Standards include:
- A more focused approach to identifying material topics, based on the organisation’s most significant impacts.
- Updated content covering responsible business conduct and due diligence, including respect for human rights.
- Revising how organisations use the GRI Standards for their sustainability reporting, with clearly set out requirements and a new structure.
Judy Kuszewski, Chair of GRI’s Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), said the review was initiated because GSSB wants to ensure the GRI Standards are as relevant and comprehensive as possible, while reflecting the latest developments in responsible business and respect for human rights.
“With multi-stakeholder collaboration at the heart of our standard setting, we encourage groups and individuals around the world to take part in this public comment period – and help us continue to deliver standards that drive action in support of sustainable development.”
The three Universal Standards in this review are as follows:
- GRI 101: to be renamed from Foundation to Using the GRI Standards. Introduces the GRI Standards system and explains how they are used.
- GRI 102: changing from General Disclosures to About the Organization. Covers disclosures for contextual information about the reporting organisation.
- GRI 103: currently Management Approach, this will be renamed Material Topics. Includes guidance for identifying material topics, with disclosures on reporting how they are managed.
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) helps businesses, governments and other organisations understand and communicate their impacts. The GRI Standards are the world’s most widely used for sustainability reporting.
The public comment period for the Universal Standards is open from 11 June until 9 September 2020.
For more information visit: https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/work-program-and-standards-review/review-of-gris-universal-standards/