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New Sustainability Reporting Guidelines

30 January 2006 at 12:01 pm
Staff Reporter
The UN's Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has released updated Sustainability Reporting Guidelines for international comment.

Staff Reporter | 30 January 2006 at 12:01 pm


New Sustainability Reporting Guidelines
30 January 2006 at 12:01 pm

The UN’s Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has released updated Sustainability Reporting Guidelines for international comment.

Called the G3 Guidelines and protocols they are available for a three-month public comment period between 2 January and 31 March 2006.

The draft is the result of nearly a year’s worth of research, development, and consensus seeking by stakeholder technical working groups, each assigned to focus on different parts of the Guidelines.

GRI Chief Executive Ernst Ligteringen says the organisation is revealing a complete draft to the general public for the first time, and is very eager to hear reactions from any person or organisation interested in helping to advance the practice of sustainability reporting.

The draft can be downloaded from a new website at and all comments can be made via the site before the 31 March deadline.

A second draft will be produced by mid-year which will then be submitted to the GRI’s governing bodies for approval before their final release which is slated for October 2006.

Ernst Ligteringen says those familiar with the GRI reporting framework will notice some key changes and highlights in the G3 draft. These changes are chiefly aimed at increasing the user-friendliness of the Guidelines, and increasing the comparability of reports.

Main highlights include:
– Guidance on how to determine what issues to report on and how to select relevant indicators
– Guidance on setting the report boundary
– Each reporting principle is accompanied by a set of self-tests to help with their application
– New disclosure items on strategy and analysis that highlight key issues, risks, and opportunities
– Indicator section has been restructured and now contains two main elements – “Disclosures on Management Approach” and “Performance Indicators”
– Each performance indicator is accompanied by a technical protocol, which contains definitions for words used in the indicator, compilation methodologies, and other useful resources.

Along with the draft Guidelines and Indicator Protocols, GRI has posted a series of documents that help show the evolution of the Guidelines.

GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines were last released in 2002. Over the years hundreds of organisations have used the Guidelines as the basis for their reporting, and thousands of stakeholders have used information in reports issued by the organisations they are interested in or have a relationship with.

Based on feedback from practitioners from reporting organisations and from report user groups, GRI designed a process to update and improve the 2002 Guidelines.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a multi-stakeholder process and independent institution whose mission is to develop and disseminate globally applicable Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.

These Guidelines are for voluntary use by organisations for reporting on the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of their activities, products, and services.

The GRI incorporates the active participation of representatives from business, accountancy, investment, environmental, human rights, research and labour organisations from around the world. Started in 1997, GRI became independent in 2002, and is an official collaborating centre of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and works in cooperation with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Global Compact.

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