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|DTA Fit for Purpose|
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|ISO 9001: 2008|
|Local Multiplier 3|
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|Star Social Firm|
|Third Sector Performance Dashboard|
|Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit|
| Primary purpose
Who can use the tool?
What resources are needed?
Development, ownership and support
Third sector examples
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an independent institution whose mission is to develop and disseminate globally applicable sustainability reporting guidelines that help organisations to report on the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of their activities, products, and services. The aim of the GRI Guidelines is to assist reporting organisations and their stakeholders in articulating and understanding contributions of the organisation to sustainable development through their reports.1
GRI is now the most widely used sustainability reporting framework. There are four key elements in the framework:
Whilst the GRI Guidelines seek to enhance comparability between reports through encouraging the use of common indicators, it can also incorporate flexibility so that organisations can take steps to reflect the context in which they operate. The GRI Guidelines can also be used with a more informal approach consistent with organisation’s capacity. The organisation may choose to cover only some of the content in working towards improving their reporting. With this in mind, organisations are also asked to clearly indicate how they have used the GRI Guidelines and in particular, the core indicators. With time and practice, organisations are encouraged to move gradually towards more comprehensive reporting built on the content of the GRI framework.
The GRI Guidelines are intended to be applicable to organisations of all sizes and types operating in any sector. However, they were developed primarily with the needs of larger businesses in mind. According to GRI, the reporting framework being used by more than 1500 organisations, ‘including many of the world’s leading brands’.
To adhere to the GRI Guidelines, an organisation will need to collect information and performance across the whole organisation and therefore it requires the leadership and commitment of management and senior staff members.
Proficiencies or skills
Skills and experience with developing reports and impact assessment or data collection would be helpful, as would experience of other social research methods.
Significant time will be required to compile, analyse and write up information and implement action. Some flexibility exists depending on whether the organisation uses all or part of the Guidelines.
Courses, support, and information
While GRI does not currently offer training programmes related to sustainability reporting or the GRI Guidelines, a number of companies, consultancies, NGOs and other organisations worldwide do offer this type of service. GRI does not formally endorse any specific training organisation and does not provide any sort of certification related to trainings.
The website www.globalreporting.org includes a large amount of information including the downloadable G3 guidelines, forums, publications, help and information.
GRI is a multistakeholder process and independent institution whose mission is to develop and disseminate globally applicable sustainability reporting guidelines. GRI incorporates the active participation of representatives from business, accountancy, investment, environmental, human rights, research and labour organisations from around the world. Started in 1997, GRI became independent in 2002, and is an official collaborating centre of the UNEP.
Since its inception, GRI has initiated a process of continuous improvement driven by the insights and experiences of stakeholders familiar with the GRI Guidelines and other GRI reporting framework components. The network of stakeholders is now 30,000-strong. In 2009, priorities for revision to the G3 guidelines will be set out.
Examples from other sectors:
1 The GRI Guidelines organise ‘sustainability reporting’ in terms of economic, environmental, and social performance (also know as the ‘triple bottom line’). They reflect what the members of the initiative think is currently the most widely accepted approach to defining sustainability. GRI recognises that the definition has its limitations but sees the definition as a starting point that is comprehensible to many and has achieved a degree of consensus as a reasonable entry point into a complex issue. More information on sustainable development can be found in the GRI Guidelines.
“We have produced environmental reports for many years, but wanted a toolthat would combine financial, social, environmental and economic measurement to produce a fully integrated sustainable report. This integration has been one of the main benefits of using the Guidelines and the reason we chose them.”
— Triodos Bank NV.
“We began using the GRI Guidelines in 2001 and were the first bank to use them for our annual report. They have increased our transparency to all our stakeholders.”
— Triodos Bank NV.