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Standards Pioneers: Leading the way in sustainability reporting
15 June 2017
The GRI Standards Pioneers Program is designed to support the earliest adopters of the GRI Standards, and has kicked off with over 150 members.
Created exclusively for the GOLD Community members, the Standards Pioneers Program has kicked off with an impressive participation rate. The 153 Pioneer organizations come from 44 different countries and multiple sectors.
 
More than half of the Pioneers have already started preparing their sustainability report based on the GRI Standards, and the majority of them will publish their report by the end of the year. One of the frontrunners is the US giant General Motors, which published its 2016 sustainability report in June 2017. Having been involved with GRI for two decades, General Motors regards sustainability reporting as part of their culture. As a reason to join the Standards Pioneers, GM states: “We are thrilled to see the Guidelines evolve into the GRI Standards, which will continue to improve transparency and help companies like ours measure and report their contribution to sustainable development.”
 
Aiming for better quality reporting
The Standards Pioneers Program aims to motivate and support organizations that are already reporting on non-financial issues to strive for better quality of reporting. The online program comprises a series of webinars that provide expert insights on the GRI Standards, enabling reporters and non-reporters alike to share experiences and approaches with other organizations and GRI. 

Within the program, reporters have the opportunity to learn more about the GRI Standards directly from the Standards Division.

“As an advocate for improved disclosure, GRI has played a significant role in improving the quality of our clients’ sustainability reporting and we are pleased to be a part of its Standards Pioneers Program. By helping us understand how GRI Standards can be put into practice, the program will reinforce our status as a trusted advisor,” argues a representative from The Works Design Communications.

In addition to encouraging better reporting, participants can benefit from knowledge sharing by asking questions and discussing challenges encountered during the reporting cycle with a wide variety of reporters and consultants alike. 

Participating in the Standards Pioneers Program gives members the access to:

Moving from theory to practice with expert guidance
Having launched in April 2017, the first Pioneers session dealt with the transition to the GRI Standards, and what businesses can expect from this transition. The Pioneers were guided through the main changes, format, terminology, and usage of the GRI Standards by a GRI Standards expert.
 
The following two sessions included in-depth insights on the universal standards, as well as the tools and resources available for supporting the reporting process. 
 
“We are proud to be pioneers in the transition to GRI Standards, which we hope will enable us to continue the conversation about our sustainability efforts in a more effective, stakeholder-focused and comprehensive manner,” states one Standards Pioneer Aramex.
 
The program will continue with four other sessions during October and November, which will present more insights on the topic-specific standards (social, environmental and economic):
 

In the last session, we will share personal experiences and case studies from the Pioneers that published their GRI Standards sustainability report during 2017. Those Pioneers that have participated in 80 per cent of the sessions, will receive a Participation mark to acknowledge the commitment of their organization in the Program and their support of GRI’s mission. 

Learn more about the Standards Pioneers Program and find out which organizations are already participating. For information about GOLD Community membership, please visit the GOLD website. Pioneers that have already published their GRI Standards report include: Aramex, Banco Galicia, Florida Ice & Farm, Company (FIFCO), General Motors, Intel, Kesko, Norsk Hydro, Prologis, SOLVAY, and The Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB).