GRI revises universal sustainability standards, with emphasis on human rights


The Global Reporting Initiative unveiled its revised version Universal standards Tuesday to reflect the due diligence expectations for organizations to manage their impacts on sustainability, including human rights.

GRI anticipates that the revised standards will be used by the more than 10,000 companies that already use its standards for their sustainability reports. The standards are designed to enable companies to meet new regulatory requirements, including the European Union’s Directive on Disclosure of Corporate Sustainability Information and the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation’s plans to establish a advising on international sustainability standards that the IFRS Foundation would oversee alongside international accounting standards. Plank.

The latest revision adds new industry standards to help companies focus their reporting on the most important issues within their industries. With 40 sectors already identified by the GRI, standards for coal, mining, agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries are already being developed.

“With the most significant change since the launch of the GRI Standards in 2016, the revised Universal Standards set a new global benchmark for corporate transparency,” Global Sustainability Standards Board Chair Judy Kuszewski said in a statement. “By fully bridging the gaps between available disclosure frameworks and intergovernmental expectations for responsible business, including human rights reporting, they will allow for a more effective and comprehensive reporting than ever before.” “

Universal Standards 2021 include three standards:

  • GRI 1: Foundation introduces the GRI purpose and reporting system, defining the concepts, requirements and key principles that all organizations must adhere to in order to report in accordance with GRI standards.
  • GRI 2: General disclosuresupdates and consolidates disclosures on reporting practices; activities and workers; governance; strategy, policies and practices; and stakeholder engagement.
  • GRI 3: important topics offers step-by-step guidance and revised information on how the organization determines, lists and manages each of its important topics.

The revised standards align with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development guidelines for multinational enterprises; the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct; the international labor standards of the International Labor Organization; and the Global Governance Principles of the International Corporate Governance Network.

A new online course, Transition to updating the GRI 2021 standards, offers the first in a series of training tools to be provided over the coming months.

The revisions were the subject of a public comment period last year, giving stakeholders the opportunity to contribute to the proposed changes. They come into effect for reporting from January 1, 2023, with early adoption encouraged. Click here for a summary of the main changes And one introduction to GRI standards.

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