GRI publication helps organizations identify material topics by sector
07 November 2013

​Many sectors face unique sustainability issues that should be captured in sustainability reports. At the GRI Conference in May, GRI launched the publication 'Sustainability Topics for Sectors: What do stakeholders want to know?' The publication summarizes research undertaken with different stakeholder groups in an effort to identify the sustainability topics that different stakeholders consider to be relevant.
In the publication, lists of topics for 52 business activity groups are presented. The information compiled is intended to stimulate discussion within reporting organizations about the material topics to be included in their reports.

Nelmara Arbex, GRI’s Chief Advisor on Innovation in Reporting, said: “The aim of this research is to draw on the experience of a wide range of organizations around the globe to capture a sense of the diversity of sector-specific issues that have emerged as relevant to different stakeholder groups over time. As such, the publication offers ‘food for thought’, stimulating discussion and encouraging reporters to explore, during the materiality assessment, whether these issues are also relevant to their business.”

Between September and December 2012, GRI opened a call for topics, inviting organizations to provide their proposals, defining the suggested topic and explaining why it is important. 56 organizations responded to the call for contributions and GRI conducted desk research on 145 organizations. Altogether, the research generated 2812 proposed topics relating to 52 business activity groups. Through analysis, 1612 unique topics were identified and are supported by over 600 documents.

Industries change and grow and the Sustainability Topics for Sectors project is an ongoing study that allows for more topics to be added. Individuals and organizations are welcome to provide views and supporting documentation for further relevant sustainability topics for business activity groups. All proposals will be analyzed and considered for any future updates to the sector topic research.

To provide input and suggest a new topic please complete this form and return it to For more information, click here