Changes coming with G4
G4 is GRI's latest generation of Sustainability Reporting Guidelines and is just being released now. Here are a couple of select notes;
- This next generation will include many more metrics on supply chain auditing. Among them, GRI has added significant new approaches in defining Material Aspects especially as regards your Supply Chain and the localities in which they operate. The Disclosures on Management Approach has also been expanded to include procurement practices that cause or contribute to negative impacts in the supply chain, including screening suppliers using environmental criteria.
- There are new Governance Structure and Composition indicators which reveal appointed executive-level positions with roles, knowledge, active participation and responsiblitly for economic, environmental and social topics, including reporting the highest governance body whose role it is to review the effectiveness of EES policies.
- There are updated aspects on GHG Emissions to come into alignment with WRI/WBCSD and IPCC Guidelines.
- GRI now recommends the use of external assurance but it is not a requirement to be in accordance with GRI G4.
- GRI will continue to recognize reports based on the old guidelines (G3 and G3.1) until the end of 2015. But why wait?
What's in a name? Sustainable concepts are not new - they are as old as the industrial revolution itself - but their prevalence in business has only really gained momentum in the past decade or so. Therefore, a unified set of vocabulary and procedures are still evolving. A multitude of terms, acronyms and topics fall under the umbrella of sustainability, including Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Triple Bottom Line (3BL) and Corporate Responsibility (CR) reporting, as well as others. More than just an environmental perspective, sustainability includes both good corporate citizenship and governance issues as well as anything that has the potential to create or destroy value (from water management to human rights ). Let's face it, financial data looks backwards. Sustainability reporting is an attempt to look into the future, both for threats and opportunities.
GRI (the Global Reporting Initiative) is the principle global standard for sustainability reporting methodology. They have established a set of Performance Indicators (Metrics) which are organized into four main categories: Economic, Environment, Social and Governance. The Social category is further broken down into Labor, Human Rights, Society and Product Responsibility sub-categories. More than 80% of all S&P 500 companies who publish a sustainability report do so using the GRI guidelines. Our principal, Chris Johnson, has completed GRI Certified Training in the GRI Sustainability Reporting Process.