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June 08, 2010
GRI Plans Incremental Updates to Sustainability Reporting Framework
    by Robert Kropp

The world’s most widely used corporate reporting framework invites public comment on updates in areas of community, human rights, and gender.


The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), whose Sustainability Reporting Framework is the most widely used corporate sustainability reporting mechanism in the world, is in the process of updating its G3 Guidelines. The G3 Guidelines provide information on reporting principles and guidance, as well as key performance indicators, for corporations to use as a basis for their annual reporting.

This year, instead of revising the entire set of Guidelines, the GRI will update its Framework incrementally. The thematic revisions scheduled for this year address the categories of Community, Gender, and Human Rights. The GRI will hold a public comment period until August 23, and has posted a
survey for comments on how reporting organizations can better disclose their impacts in the three areas.

According to the GRI, “One of the most important stakeholder groups for all organizations is the local community.” Most corporate reports, however, “emphasize positive community impacts without mentioning any negative ones,” the GRI has found. As most reports do not address changes effected in local communities as a result of business activities, the GRI has concluded that the majority of them do not actually meet the G3 reporting requirements at present.

According to the GRI’s
Human Rights Reporting Working Group, “There is a growing consensus that it is necessary for business to take a broad view of which human rights could be ‘relevant’ or ‘material’ based on review of human rights as embodied in international conventions and declarations.”

The Human Rights Reporting Working Group recommended that reporting on human rights consider the material impacts of human rights issues, the ability of corporations to successfully manage human rights impacts, and the effectiveness of corporate policies in avoiding human rights violations.

Despite global recognition of the importance of gender equality, little gender-disaggregated data is provided in sustainability reports at present. As a result of the finding, the
GRI Gender Working Group recommended that reports include information on gender wage disparity and disaggregated data according to gender.

To improve corporate governance, the Gender Working Group recommended “more detailed disclosure on the gender composition of governance bodies and all their committees, both in terms of the process of recruitment members and in the actual composition.”

According to the GRI, the upcoming revisions will make “current G3 Guidelines more relevant, transparent, and specific, without adding extra complexity to the reporting process.”

 

 
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