As many companies are publishing or reaching the final stretch in developing their 2016 sustainability reports, it’s time to start planning for the next reporting cycle. A key part of that planning process for many reporters will be thinking through the GRI Standards, released in October 2016, which will be required for all GRI reporters starting July 1, 2018. In other words, any report published after that date must use the Standards rather than G4 to claim any reference to GRI.
GRI has been a major force in encouraging and guiding sustainability reporting for nearly two decades, and the four generations of GRI Guidelines have been widely used. More than 3,400 reports were published in 2016 using GRI, and some 26,400 GRI-based reports are listed in GRI’s database. The GRI Standards are intended to update its sustainability reporting framework from guidelines to a full-fledged, standards-based system. The Standards follow the 2013 overhaul of GRI’s reporting guidance from G3 to G4, which was a substantial undertaking for most organizations.
We’re sure many reporting companies, report content developers and report users are wondering how big a transition the shift to the Standards will be, and whether and when to make the jump. We think there is much to like about the Standards, and the lift won’t be as heavy as the move from G3 to G4. To help reporters think through this transition, we’ve developed a white paper reviewing some of the good, the bad and the ugly of the new Standards based on how well they help to advance GRI’s stated goals, their value to reporters and report readers and the effort required to make the shift.