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June 06, 2011
GRI Calls for Input into New Sustainability Guidelines
    by Robert Kropp

The Global Reporting Initiative announces that it will publish the G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines in 2013, and invites public input into their formation.

For the first time since it launched its G3 Guidelines in 2006, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is planning an update of its sustainability reporting framework for organizations.

Acknowledging that "the sustainability agenda has changed since G3 was launched in 2006, and that companies are facing new challenges," GRI announced last month that it will publish its new G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines in 2013.

The first phase of the development of the G4 Guidelines consists of a call for sustainability reporting topics, which is intended to collect input on new topics to be covered, as well as revisions of existing topics. Submissions to the G4 development process can be made here, and will be accepted until June 30.

GRI also announced that it has sent surveys to organizational stakeholders, corporate reporters, and others, "to gather views on G4ís potential structure and content."

The next phase of the process, which will begin in August and continue for 90 days, will consist of a public comment period, during which registrants can provide additional input into the proposed G4 framework.

"To achieve guidance fit for mainstream use, three main challenges must be met," GRI stated. "To help companies report to all their different stakeholders, to promote harmonization of available frameworks and principles, and to provide sustainability reporting guidance suitable for companies that wish to integrate their financial and non-financial performance data."

The movement on behalf of integrated reporting has grown to international proportions in recent years, and in 2010 GRI joined the International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC). According to IIRC, "Integrated Reporting demonstrates the linkages between an organization's strategy, governance and financial performance and the social, environmental and economic context within which it operates."

"By reinforcing these connections," IIRC continued, "Integrated Reporting can help business to take more sustainable decisions and enable investors and other stakeholders to understand how an organization is really performing."

In January of this year, GRI announced the launch of its GRI Focal Point United States initiative, seeking to increase the number of US companies using its standardized framework for sustainability reporting. While the US, with 132 companies using the framework, was the second largest GRI reporting country in 2009, only 12% of the sustainability reports listed on the GRI Reports List in 2009 were from US companies.


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