SINO-SYNERGY
01 October 2014
Sino-synergy

​There has been a growing interest to create synergies in the field of sustainability reporting, due to the proliferation of multiple reporting frameworks in China. GRI, in collaboration with the Corporate Social Responsibility Research Centre of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), recently published a new linkage document, Linking CASS-CSR 3.0 and GRI'S G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.

The linkage document aims to:

• Increase awareness and share information on the importance of sustainability reporting amongst multi-stakeholder groups from business and their sector associations, financial markets, government, civil societies and sustainability practitioners in China, as well as the rest of the world;
• Increase understanding of CASS-CSR 3.0 and its convergence with G4;
• Map CASS-CSR 3.0 to G4 by providing useful cross-references for those organizations that aim to produce a sustainability report, referencing both sets of Guidelines.
 
CSR in China
In China, many stakeholders have been investing great effort in creating an environment which enables the promotion of responsible business operations. The Corporate Social Responsibility Research Center at CASS was established in February 2008, and contributes to the development of a theoretical framework of China’s CSR practice. The center’s release of the first Guidelines on Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting for Chinese Enterprises (CASS-CSR) in December 2009 marked a significant milestone in the advancement of sustainability reporting in China. The third edition (CASS-CSR 3.0) of this collection of guidelines was published in January 2014.
 
Sustainability reporting has been practiced voluntarily by hundreds of companies in China over the last decade. Currently, there are a number of reporting guidelines available in China for Chinese users regarding sustainability, CSR performance and business responsibility. Among all these reporting frameworks, the GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines has been the most commonly used reporting tool, satisfying the needs of both national and international stakeholders. For reporting companies with local stakeholders as their key audience, CASS-CSR 3.0 is currently the second most frequently referenced reporting guideline in China. Using an analysis and mapping exercise, the synergies of CASS-CSR 3.0 and the fourth generation of the GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines ('G4'), as well as the independent additional value of having global and local frameworks, can be clearly identified.
 
Historical role
“Whilst GRI’s Guidelines have been designed to apply to organizations of any size or type, from any sector or region, sustainability reporting remains both global and local in nature. The CASS CSR reporting guidelines has played a historical role in building reporting practice of Chinese companies for over four years. It’s encouraging to see increased overlapping of the latest CASS guidelines and GRI’s G4. A linkage document presents an opportunity to explain the GRI Guidelines in the context of – and in relation to – local laws and regulations,” said GRI's Focal Point China Director, Timothy Hui.
 
GRI has previously produced several linkage documents, which support the use of G4 in combination with other widely used standards and reporting frameworks, such as the UNGC Principles and related Communication on Progress (COP) (Making the Connection: Using the GRI G4 Guidelines to Communicate Progress on the UN Global Compact Principles), the ISO 26000 guidance standard issued by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (How to use the GRI G4 Guidelines and ISO 26000 in conjunction), and the CDP 2014 climate change questions (Linking GRI and CDP: How are GRI's G4 Guidelines and CDP's 2014 Climate Change Questions Aligned?). GRI recognizes these linkage documents as strategically important for globally increasing the uptake of its Guidelines. With the expansion of GRI’s regional activities and presence, these linkages have also become important for local standards and guidelines.
 
To download the linkage document, follow this link.
 
Learn more about GRI’s Focal Point China.