The elephant in the room. All sustainability professionals and the GRI Standards must collectively focus on the bigger picture.
80% of the worlds 250 largest companies prepare their sustainability reports in accordance with the GRI Standards. They use the process of materiality, which is central to Sustainability Reporting. It enables companies to identify and report on the impacts that matter most (on the economy, environment and society).
We should not just focus on the impacts that concern our business individually. The bigger picture is that SMEs, which account for 90% of global economic activity, do not know what their most important impacts are (interview with GRI’s CEO, Tim Mohin). Therefore it is only logical to conclude that they are not taking actions to address these impacts.
The magnitude of this issue makes it a necessity that it should be a material issue in all sustainability reports. Each and every company that publishes sustainability reports must help smaller companies address their most important impacts. This can be achieved in a targeted way by requiring, through an environmental and social supplier assessment (GRI308 and GRI 414), information on the impacts that matter most. These are the impacts that are caused by their business relationship. Companies will be using their buying power as a leverage to bring positive change and will help SMEs to take targeted sustainability action with a GRI referenced report, which:
- will not require many resources
- will bring business benefits
- will help us to collectively do things in much cleverer ways which will benefit the economy, environment and society
GSSB must focus on the elephant
A strategy to address the massive issue described above must be the focus in the evolvement of the GRI Standards by the GRI’s Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB). Assessing suppliers must be central to the reporting process and made a requirement and, in turn, help SMEs take solid, focused sustainability action. Our world will be a much better place if the overwhelming percentage of companies identify their most important impacts and then proceed to measure, manage and change. We need to bring on board the companies that account for 90% of global economic activity.
Make your say count and email GSSB at email@example.com
In line with its Due Process Protocol, GRI’s GSSB invites all stakeholders to comment on the Draft GSSB Work Program 2020-2022 and the accompanying Project Schedule 2020 between 23 April 2020 and 23 June 2020. Tweet This!
Comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating ‘Public Comment Revised GSSB Work Program 2020-2022’ in the subject line. The deadline to submit feedback is 23 June 2020 COB.
The GSSB will consider the feedback received before approving the final GSSB Work Program 2020-2022.
The Draft GSSB Work Program 2020-2022 (above) provides, among others, useful information on:
- GSSB’s commitment to reviewing existing GRI Standards every 4 years
- the development of 5 new, topic-specific Standards
- the GRI Sector Program, intended to address specific sectors’ most significant impacts by developing Sector Standards
GRI’s Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB) has sole responsibility for setting the first globally accepted standards for sustainability reporting – the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards.
Established as an independent operating entity under the auspices of GRI, the GSSB is formed of 15 members representing a range of expertise and multi-stakeholder perspectives on sustainability reporting. The 15 members of the GSSB represent diverse sectors, backgrounds and regions around the world. Their range of technical expertise, diversity of experience, and multi-stakeholder perspective support and strengthen the development of the GRI Standards.
The GSSB operates under the GSSB Terms of Reference to oversee the development of the GRI Standards according to a formally defined due process and works exclusively in the public interest, according to the vision and mission of GRI. With the exception of some administrative discussions, which can be held privately at the GSSB’s discretion, all GSSB meetings are open to the public and available online.
As established in the GSSB Terms of Reference, the meetings of the GSSB ‘shall be open to the public, but certain discussions (normally about selection, appointment and other administrative issues) may be held in private at the discretion of the GSSB’.
The GSSB therefore publishes the agenda, the documents to be discussed, and a link to the Livestream approximately two weeks prior to each meeting. The most recent meeting of the GSSB took place on 20 May 2020.
How are GRI Standards developed and approved?
The GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards are the product of more than 15 years of robust, global, multi-stakeholder development. This development is governed by a formally defined Due Process Protocol, which is overseen by the Due Process Oversight Committee (DPOC).
The Due Process Protocol is designed to ensure that the GRI Standards promote the public interest and are aligned with GRI’s vision and mission. It also ensures that GRI Standards move through a clearly communicated development process. This starts with project identification, prioritisation and commencement; continues with content development, public exposure and consideration of feedback; and concludes with the final release of Standards.
80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards
SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.
Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.
FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE
By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.
Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:
- Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
- Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP
This article is based on published information by GRI. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the publication’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original please revert to the following link: