Markets working to support sustainable development

Global Reporting Initiative (G4)

The Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI) declared mission is to promote sustainability reporting so that it is of an equivalent standing to financial reporting in rigour, comparability, auditability and general acceptance.

The main output of the organization are the GRI Guidelines; a reporting framework continuously developed via a multi-stakeholder consensus seeking process to which anyone can contribute.In May 2013 GRI launched the G4 updated guidelines. The G4 Guidelines have aimed to increase user-friendliness and accessibility. The emphasis on what is material encourages organizations to provide only information that is critical to their business and stakeholders. This means organizations and report users can concentrate on the sustainability impacts that matter, resulting in reports that are more strategic, more focused, more credible, and easier for stakeholders to navigate (G4 Guidelines, 2013)




Market coverage: 

In their international corporate responsibility reporting survey 2011, KPMG showed that 95% of the 250 biggest companiesin the world disclosed sustainability performance information in 2011, compared to 80% in 2008. 80% of companies that do report use the GRI guidelines (GRI Annual report 2012/2013)

The GRI Sustainability Disclosure Database hosts sustainability reports from participating organisations. As of January 2012 there are 3,063 organisations and 7,734 GRI reports available to view.

Background information: 

The Global Reporting Initiative was established in 1997 by companies and organisations belonging to the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), in order to improve the ‘quality, rigour and utility of sustainability reporting’. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) formally joined as a partner in 1998 before the first guidelines were released.

The GRI is located in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and is registered as an independent, non-profit organization.

Funding source: 

Total income for the 2012/2013 financial year stood at 6.26 million EUR.

Receives grants from national governments, international organisations, charitable foundations, as well as fees from organisational stakeholders.

Notable information: 

The GRI is a network-based organization with active input from businesses, civil society, accountancy and other non-profit associations and interested individuals. The guidelines are intended to be applicable across different sectors and countries. Use of the guidelines is voluntary and there exist varying levels of conformity.

Although the GRI does not verify the claims in reports, reporting organizations can optionally choose to either have an assurance provider offer an opinion on the self-declaration, and or request that the GRI check the verification on the self-declaration.