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Voluntary frameworks or guidelines have emerged to help businesses determine how to report on their sustainability performance. These tools provide structure that can help businesses get started with sustainability reporting or help businesses that are already reporting on sustainable performance improve or expand their reporting.
There are many different sustainability reporting guidelines and frameworks for businesses to choose among. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is one of the most common and encompasses the three spheres of sustainability: economic, environmental, and social. In this section, the GRI G3 Sustainability Guidelines will be discussed in greatest detail to help the reader understand the type of information in a reporting framework.
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) was started in 1997 by the NGO the Coalition of Environmentally Responsible Economies (Ceres) and today collaborates as an independent entity with the United Nations Environmental Program and the UN Secretary General’s Global Compact. Ceres developed the Global Reporting Initiative to help companies report sustainability performance in a similar way as financial information.
The GRI provides a consistent way for companies to voluntarily measure and report progress on economic, ecological, and social performance of their businesses. In 2009, 1,400 GRI based reports were registered by reporting entities.
GRI first released the guidelines in 2000, and the current version, G3, was published in 2006. The framework is continuously improved as knowledge of sustainability issues evolves and the priorities of reporters and report users change. In March 2011, GRI released the G3.1 guidelines (https://www.globalreporting.org/reporting/guidelines-online/G31Online/Pages/default.aspx), which is an update and revision to the G3 guidelines.
The G3.1 guidelines provide seventy-nine performance indicators. Fifty of these indicators are “core” and twenty-nine are “additional.”
Table 4.4 GRI G3.1 Guidelines
|Labor practices and decent work||9||5|
Table 4.5 Examples of Each Category of G3.1 Performance Indicator
|Performance Indicator||G3.1 Label||Description|
|Economic||EC1||Direct economic value generated and distributed, including revenues, operating costs, employee compensation, donations, and other community investments; retained earnings; and payments to capital providers and governments|
|Environmental||EN3||Direct energy consumption by primary energy source|
|Labor practices and decent work||LA1||Total workforce by employment type, employment contract, and region, broken down by gender|
|Human rights||HR2||Percentage of significant suppliers, contractors, and other business partners that have undergone human rights screening and of actions taken|
|Society||S03||Percentage of employees trained in organization’s anticorruption policies and procedures|
|Product responsibility||PR2||Total number of incidents of noncompliance with regulations and voluntary codes concerning health and safety impacts of products and services during their life cycle, organized by type of outcomes|