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A new standard

8 October, 2021

Earlier this week the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), custodians of the world’s most widely used voluntary sustainability reporting framework, unveiled the latest iteration of the GRI Standards. You might be forgiven for stifling a groan. But don’t skip this story quite yet… 

Representing the largest overhaul of the Standards since their launch five years ago, the update introduces a new modular structure and revisions to the required disclosures, including new sector-specific guidance for reporting. Notably, the revised Standards were also designed to align more closely with intergovernmental instruments from the likes of the UN and OECD on topics such as human rights and responsible business conduct.    

With over 10,000 companies currently reporting against the Standards, these revisions will have big implications for the ESG indicators that are tracked around the world. And since measuring impact is the first step to managing it (plus, no one wants to report their own poor performance), we can look forward to this change being more than surface level.  

It can be difficult to keep track of all the standards and guidelines (and acronyms  CDP, TCFD, SASB, UNGC, the list goes on) in the sustainability reporting landscape and there have been plenty of calls for greater alignment between them. But while the world awaits a set of unified ESG standards, it’s good to see continuous improvement in those that are being used today. 

By Louise Podmore

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