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Norwegian Stock Exchange Issues Reporting Guidance with Strong Reference to GRI
05 October 2016
The Oslo Børs is one of the latest exchanges to provide explicit guidance on sustainability reporting for its issuers, with strong reference to GRI. 

The Guidance, developed in collaboration with the Norwegian Forum for Responsible and Sustainable Investment (Norsif), is intended to encourage efficient, comprehensive and relevant corporate responsibility reporting.

The Oslo Børs joins the group of approximately 20 exchanges worldwide which currently provide guidance on sustainability reporting for their issuers, with over a dozen more exchanges currently working on developing their own Guidance, several of which will be launched in the coming months. 

In the process of developing the Guidance, the Olso Børs sought stakeholder feedback to ensure the final product reflects the needs of reporters and report users alike.

“Investors are increasingly considering matters related to corporate responsibility when making their investment decisions,” explained Bente A. Landsnes, President and CEO of Oslo Børs. “The objective of our Guidance is to contribute to greater transparency and improved corporate reporting. We based our Guidance on GRI’s G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, while also referencing other recognized international reporting frameworks. In our experience, standardized reporting guidelines are in the interest of both companies and investors.”

The release of the Guidance coincided with the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative 'Global Dialogue' on 5 September in Singapore, a biennial global gathering of market leaders to analyze, promote and foster communication on stock exchanges' sustainability initiatives. The SSE launched its Model Guidance on Reporting ESG Information to Investors one year ago, which was followed by a Campaign to Close the ESG Guidance Gap. GRI is working closely with the SSE to advance the Campaign, with the aim to see all member exchanges of the SSE or the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) provide guidance on sustainability reporting. Oslo Børs has emerged as one of the leading exchanges in achieving the mission of the Campaign.

The Oslo Børs Guidance states that companies issuing a GRI G4 “Core” or “Comprehensive” report will be deemed to report in accordance with the Guidance. This makes it much easier for many of the 200-plus listed issuers to comply, as a number of them are already GRI reporters. 

“I find it very important for the preparers as well as the users of reports that the Guidance builds on GRI’s internationally recognized reporting standard," explained Kirsten Margrethe Hovi, Head of Extra-Financial Reporting in Norsk Hydro ASA, and member of the working group that developed the Oslo Børs Guidelines. "That secures continuity and reduces risk of double reporting. In my opinion, that is important to secure good reporting quality”.

GRI is currently referenced in public policy instruments promoting corporate transparency in 41 countries and regions. In Norway, the Accounting Act currently refers to GRI. With the transition to GRI Standards, the new, modular structure provides an even more credible and ready-to-use instrument for policy makers and regulators worldwide.