08/20/2012 10:34 am ET Updated Oct 20, 2012

GRI4 Increases Emphasis on Ethics, Emissions, Utility and Compatibility

Latest proposed reporting guidelines are open for public comment through September 25, 2012. Communicators in this space, as well as concerned stakeholders have the opportunity to weigh in now.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is preparing the latest version of their international sustainability and CSR Reporting Guidelines (G4). The new guidelines are designed to incorporate the following objectives:

  • Offer user-friendly guidance, so that communicators new to reporting can easily understand and use the Guidelines.
  • Improve the quality of the technical content to eliminate ambiguities and differing interpretations -- for the benefit of those reporting and those using the information.
  • Harmonize as much as possible with other internationally-accepted standards.
  • Improve guidance on identifying 'material' issues -- from different stakeholders' perspectives -- to be included in sustainability reports.
  • Offer guidance on how to link the sustainability reporting process to the preparation of an integrated report, aligned with the guidance to be developed by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).

Without going into detail on the process (available for the curious here) The proposed changes include major revisions to content in two areas.


The Anti-corruption Working Group proposed a number of changes to existing disclosures for anti-corruption, and has proposed to new and revised disclosures under a new Ethics section. Updated definitions and references, and changes to existing terminology were included to make disclosures clearer and more focused; and to align G4 with best practice in anti-corruption disclosure.

The proposed revisions include:

Strategy, Profile and Governance:
New disclosures under a new section 'e. Ethics.'

Disclosure on Management Approach:
New disclosures and guidance (Anti-corruption Aspect, Society Category).

Specific edits to Indicators SO2, SO3, and SO4 (Anti-corruption Aspect, Society Category).
Specific edits to Indicator SO6 (Public Policy Aspect, Society Category).

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

The GHG Emissions Working Group proposed a number of changes mainly covering disclosures under the Aspects of Energy and Emissions (formerly Emissions, Effluents, and Waste) in the Environmental Category. Disclosures in other areas of the Guidelines relevant to reporting GHG emissions are also included. The proposed revisions intend to support reporting and align with the GHG Protocol, jointly released by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the ISO 14064 standard produced by the International Organization for Standardization.

The proposed GHG Emissions Indicators are fully aligned with the GHG Protocol's grouping of emissions into three subsets (Scopes 1, 2, and 3), as well as the ISO 14064 grouping. Energy Indicators have been modified to align with the GHG Emissions Indicators for more streamlined reporting. Intensity Indicators were added for both energy and GHG emissions.

Compilation points for each Indicator have been made consistent across Indicators and other reporting frameworks, and allow for more detailed reporting to assist with the comparability of data.

The proposed revisions include:

Disclosure on Management Approach:
New disclosures and guidance for the Energy and Emissions Aspect (Environmental Category).


Edits to Indicator EC2 (Economic Performance Aspect, Economic Category).
Edits to Indicators EN3 -- EN7 and Indicators EN16 -- EN20 (Energy and Emissions Aspects, Environmental Category).
New indicators under the Energy and Emissions Aspects, Environmental Category.

This is the time to review the guidelines, whether you are a communicators or a concerned stakeholder. The process is open, and simple, the guidelines are quite robust and do a good job of indicating new and removed language using standard proofreading indicators.

  1. Download and read the G4 Exposure Draft, or anti-corruption or greenhouse gas emissions guidance
  2. Register on the GRI Consultation Platform
  3. Provide your feedback

Special thanks to Eric Shostal, Senior Sustainability Consultant, for help with this post.