GRI Updates Sustainability Reporting Guiding Principles

Monday, May 27, 2013 Print Email

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has presented the fourth, the most important revision of its Sustainability Reporting Guiding Principles popular as ‘G4’. These guiding principles of GRI are extensively used in the preparation of sustainability reports, and are arranged in such a way to provide a complete standardized approach to cover social, environmental, governance, and economic performance. These new modified GRI guidance are easy to use, place and includes vast updates for various areas of ethics, governance, supply chain, integrity, green house gas emissions, and, anti-fraudulence.

These are two parts of G4 guiding principles.

1. Reporting Principles, and Standard Disclosures:

The criteria to be applied, when sustainability reports are prepared according to the guiding principles, the reporting principles underlying sustainability reports in terms of quality and content, and the standard specific and general revelations required.

2. Implementation Manual

This part provides further guidance on how to apply the reporting principles, and also helps to organize the standard disclosures.

The below table give a general idea of G4.

Principles for Defining Report Content

Principles for Defining Report Quality

Stakeholder inclusiveness

Sustainability framework









Standard Disclosures



Revelations on management approach

Features by class

Social : labor practices, human rights, product responsibility (With further indicators for each)

Environmental: energy, water, materials, emissions, biodiversity, waste, products and services, effluents, transport, compliance, overall, environmental complaint mechanism, supplier environmental evaluation.

Economic: market presence, procurement practices, indirect economic impacts, economic performance.

Specific standard disclosures for sectors (if available)

Identified material features, and restrictions

Organization profile

Strategy, and analysis

Report profile

Stakeholder rendezvous


The guiding principles provide two choices on how to arrange a sustainability report according to G4 rules:

1- Core : indispensable constituent providing a background for sustainability reporting

2- Comprehensive: have need of further standard disclosures around governance, strategy, and analysis, integrity, and ethics, and additional comprehensively converse performance.

G4 also give aid for presenting sustainability disclosures in different formats like integrated reports, online reporting, annual reports, and standalone sustainability reports. The goals of sustainability reporting and integrated reporting may be different. Sustainability reporting is a basic element of integrated reporting.

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