GRI: Towards the fourth generation of reporting guidelines

2013 is an important year for the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and all users of the most important reporting standard for sustainability reports. In May, GRI will present the fourth generation of the Guidelines at the Global Conference on Sustainability and Reporting. Two years of worldwide consultations as part of a multi-stakeholder process have gone into the revision of the guidelines catalog.

Innovations in the guidelines: Closer to corporate practice

As Organizational Stakeholders (OS), we at crossrelations also participated intensively in the discussion at the last German Public Comment Meeting in Frankfurt. Now we are curious to see how the GRI committees process the feedback. There should be little opposition in the community to the efforts to give greater consideration to governance aspects in the new version of the Guidelines and to deepen the information on the aspects of management approaches. The efforts to link GRI with other systems, which cannot be overlooked overall, not only take account of the reality in the companies, but are also indispensable steps on the way to an integrated report. The discussion on the possible abolition of the application level label will generate more critical attention. In particular after there has been some misuse here. There is a proposal to make only “in accordance” confirmations communicatively usable.

When will the new Reporting Guidelines come into force?

Time and again, we are asked whether the new requirements will come into force immediately with the introduction of G4. This is not to be expected. A transition period of two years was granted for the transition from version 3 to the currently valid 3.1. alone. It is expected that an equally generous provision will be made for the introduction of G4 as part of the upcoming approval process. A number of documents provide insight into the current status of G4 preparations. GRI Chief Executive Ernst Ligteringen reiterated the importance of G4 in a video statement a few days ago. Do you have any questions about the Guidelines? We would be happy to discuss the new perspectives for your reporting with you.

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