GRI G4 Guidelines are to be transitioned to GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards (GRI Standards)

GRI G4 Guidelines are to be transitioned to GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards (GRI Standards)

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GRI G4 Guidelines are to be transitioned to GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards (GRI Standards)

2016 marks the year when the previous GRI G4 Guidelines will be transitioned to the new GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards.

The first draft of the new GRI Standards has been released by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), the independent standard-setting body which acts in the public interest to develop and approve GRI Standards, and is now available for public comments via an online consultation platform.

The new GRI Standards are developed following the same main concepts and structure of the G4 Guidelines, with some improvements regarding the structure, the format and the presentation, in order to help companies and organisations across the world report in even an easier, clearer and smarter way their global emissions and consumptions.

The organisations referring to the GRI Guidelines and accordingly reporting to them will have available:

-          3 “universal” standards

-          35 “topic-specific” standards

The first draft includes the 3 “universal” standards and 3 “topic-specific” standards.

The “universal” (which means general, available for all the organisations using the GRI) standards include:

-          Foundation standard (reporting principles and “in accordance” criteria)

-          General disclosure standard (organisational profile, governance, stakeholder engagement, reporting practice, strategy and analysis)

-          Management approach standard (management approach).

The first three “topic-specific” standards are:

-          Emissions

-          Indirect economic impacts

-          Public policy

Organisations are meant to use the “universal” standards as a set of standards to refer to when they report “in accordance” with GRI framework, and can also select multiple “topic-specific” standards from the second list to report specific material content they want or need to disclose.

The new integrated Standards are meant, especially after COP21, to enable organisations to disclose a larger amount of information and be able to commit to an even deeper level of sustainability, delivering a clearer  message to investors, stakeholders and consumers about their sustainability agenda and practices.

In order to distinguish mandatory and voluntary requirements, the GRI Standards introduce a distinction between:

-          Requirements

-          Recommendations

-          Guidance

GRI Guidelines users have an opportunity to provide their feedback and contribute to the drafting of the “universal” and “topic-specific” standards:

-          From April 19 to July 17 via an online platform

-          At the 5th GRI Global Conference taking place in Amsterdam on May 18-20

-          During webinars and workshops that GRI will be delivering in June and July 2016

-          From June 3 to July 17 following GSSB review

To find out more about the GRI G4 Guidelines and Standards please visit www.globalreporting.org.

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