Record feedback on sustainability reporting guidelines: thousands of feedback submissions to make GRI Guidelines best ever
02 October 2012

A record number of 3095 formal feedback submissions were made by sustainability experts, organizations and professionals on the next generation of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines during two 90 day Public Comment Periods, reflecting the growing interest worldwide in sustainability reporting.
GRI produces a comprehensive sustainability reporting framework that is widely used around the world. GRI is now working on the next generation of its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines – G4. As part of the development process, GRI held two Public Comment Periods (PCPs). The first, held from August to November 2011, aimed to gather opinions on sustainability reporting, through an online survey. The second PCP, open from June to September 2012, aimed to gather the public’s feedback on the G4 Exposure Draft, to ensure the Guidelines are relevant and useful for all organizations worldwide.
1832 submissions were provided during the first PCP, and 1263 during the second PCP. People also provided feedback during workshops that GRI held around the world: 470 people attended 19 workshops during the first PCP, and a total of 1768 people attended 49 workshops during the second.
Nelmara Arbex, Deputy Chief Executive of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), who is leading the G4 development process, said: “We have received a record amount of feedback on the G4 Exposure Draft – this really shows how far sustainability reporting has come since GRI released its first Guidelines in 2000. By providing input to the G4 development process, professionals and organizations worldwide are helping to ensure that the Guidelines meet their needs, as we move towards making sustainability reporting standard practice.”
GRI develops reporting guidance through a Due Process, involving thousands of experts worldwide. Working Groups with members representing business, financial markets, civil society organizations, labor, and mediating institutions (including accountancy, consultancy and academic institutions) develop proposals for new and improved guidance. These proposals are then exposed for public feedback for 90 days. Feedback is gathered and analyzed, and the Working Groups develop a final draft for approval by GRI’s governance bodies.
Nelmara Arbex added: “GRI uses this multi-stakeholder approach to developing guidance because it works: the GRI Guidelines are free for public use, so the public should be involved in their development. The public and organizations want to engage with the Due Process. Realism is one major benefit of a Public Comment Period – GRI doesn’t just produce guidance because it’s ‘right’: it has to be realistic and useable.”
The G4 development is focused on seven main areas: The G4 Exposure Draft featured proposed updates to Boundary, Application Levels, Governance and Remuneration, Supply Chain, Disclosures on Management Approach; and the new guidance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Anti-Corruption is still available for public comment until 12 November.
The G4 Guidelines will be launched during GRI’s Global Conference on Sustainability and Reporting, in May 2013. For more information, see the Conference website:

1. About the Global Reporting Initiative
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) produces a comprehensive Sustainability Reporting Framework that is widely used around the world, to enable greater organizational transparency. The Framework, including the Reporting Guidelines, sets out the Principles and Indicators organizations can use to report their economic, environmental, and social performance. GRI is committed to continuously improving and increasing the use of the Guidelines, which are freely available to the public.
2. About G4
G4 is GRI’s fourth generation of Sustainability Reporting Guidelines and is now in development. G4 is part of GRI’s commitment to the continuous development of its Guidelines. G4 aims to meet the following development priorities:

• to offer guidance in a user-friendly way, so that beginners can easily understand and use the Guidelines
• to improve the technical quality of the Guidelines’ content in order to better support reporting organizations when preparing the report information and information users when using it
• to align with other international disclosure standards and relevant metrics
• to improve guidance on identifying “material” content – from different stakeholders perspective – to be included in the sustainability reports
• to offer guidance on how to link the sustainability reporting process to the preparation of Integrated Report aligned with the guidance to be developed by International Integrated reporting Council (IIRC)

G4 will be launched at GRI’s Global Conference in May 2013.