The GRI Standards have been strengthened so they deliver the highest level of transparency for impacts on the economy, environment and people, with a major update to the very foundation of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting standards.
The launch of the revised Universal Standards – to be used by over 10,000 companies that already use GRI for their reporting – will:
· Bring a razor-sharp focus to determining material topics, with clarity on reporting principles, requirements and structure – ensuring reports are of the highest quality, informing improved decision-making by reporting organizations and information users alike.
· Provide the first and only reporting standards to fully reflect due diligence expectations for organizations to manage their sustainability impacts, including on human rights, as set forth in intergovernmental instruments by the UN and OECD.
· Enable consistent and comparable reporting, best positioning companies to respond to emerging regulatory requirements, such as the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive and the enterprise value reporting plans by the IFRS Foundation.
The revised Universal Standards fully align with authoritative instruments, enabling reporting that adheres to: the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises; OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct; ILO International Labor standards; and ICGN Global Governance Principles.
The Universal Standards 2021 are freely available for download and come into effect for reporting from 1 January 2023, with early adoption encouraged.
They comprise three Standards:
· GRI 1: Foundation (to replace GRI 101: 2016): introduces the purpose and system of GRI reporting, setting the key concepts, requirements and principles that all organizations must comply with to report in accordance with the GRI Standards.
· GRI 2: General Disclosures (to replace GRI 102: 2016): updated and consolidated disclosures on: reporting practices; activities and workers; governance; strategy, policies and practices; and stakeholder engagement.
· GRI 3: Material Topics (to replace GRI 103: 2016): now delivers step-by-step guidance and revised disclosures on how the organization determines, lists and manages each of its material topics.
Also unveiled is the publication of the first GRI Sector Standard – for oil and gas – as part of GRI’s integrated and complete modular system of sustainability reporting. Organizations begin with the Universal Standards, then their applicable Sector Standards alongside relevant Topic Standards.
The addition of Sector Standards will help companies focus reporting on the issues that matter most within their sectors, to address their shared challenges on sustainable development. With 40 sectors identified, standards for coal, mining, agriculture, aquaculture and fishing are already under development.