The latest version of the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines – G4 – was launched today at the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, when GRI Chairman Herman Mulder rang the historic gong to signal the new Guidelines' arrival. Later at the Global Conference, before an audience of over 1500 leaders and practitioners from around the globe, GRI Deputy CEO Nelmara Arbex led a celebratory launch, joined on stage by some of those who have played a pivotal role in G4's development.
"This event is about celebrating the development," said Arbex. "It's about the people who have made this possible."
For the past two years, GRI’s Secretariat and governance bodies, seven expert Working Groups, and thousands of public comment participants have developed the G4 Guidelines.
Today’s launch presented the views of different stakeholders on how G4 will help advance organizational reporting, transparency, and accountability. Herman Mulder, Kevin McKnight of G4 Consortium members Aloca, Technical Advisory Committee Chair Denise Esdon, Stakeholder Council Chairman Karin Ireton, and GRI Chairman Emeritus Mervyn King, all spoke of their shared commitment to making G4 a reality.
G4 Launch at the Amsterdam Stock Exchange
With G4, GRI’s Guidelines have been significantly revised and enhanced to reflect important current and future trends in the sustainability reporting landscape. In addition to enhancing the relevance and quality of standalone sustainability reports, G4 will be a powerful framework for generating material sustainability information for inclusion in integrated reports.
"G4 is certainly a step forward for those large companies that have the resources to be comprehensive," said McKnight. "The challenge now is to get more companies to report."
By placing even greater emphasis on the concept of materiality, G4 will encourage reporting organizations to provide only disclosures and indicators that are material to their business, on the basis of a dialogue with their stakeholders. This will allow organizations to concentrate on the sustainability impacts that really matter, resulting in reports that are more strategic, more focused and more credible, as well as easier for stakeholders to navigate.
Mervyn King's address stressed the importance of stakeholder engagement – particularly as citizens are providers of capital, via pension funds – and explained some of the motivations behind G4's publication.
"We are driving down the street of last opportunity," said King. "The planet can no longer support the seven billion people who are already here.
"Boards of companies 100 years ago could not have envisaged the issues we face. But reporting as we have known it for the last 100 years is no longer fit for purpose. Corporations have always been part of society and are now integral to society. The timing of G4 is critical, but we're in a hurry for the right reasons."
GRI Chairman Herman Mulder rang the historic gong to signal the new Guidelines' arrival