Get ready for enhanced sustainability reporting with GRI

Published date: 14 December 2022

Revised Universal Standards come into effect from 1 January 

Sustainability reporting standards that set the highest level of transparency for impacts on the economy, environment and people move to full adoption stage, from 1 January 2023. On that date, the Universal Standards 2021 become effective – meaning all GRI reporters will be required to use these key standards for information published on or after this date.

As announced in October 2021, the revision of the Universal Standards marked the most significant update to the GRI Standards since they launched six years ago. With a focus on making reporting more relevant and consistent changes included full alignment with intergovernmental instruments, as set by the UN and OECD, for due diligence on sustainability impacts, including those on human rights.

When the Universal Standards 2021 take effect on 1 January, the previous 2016 version will be withdrawn and no longer available for download.

Support on offer

The GRI Academy course Transitioning to the GRI Standards 2021 update is available for a high-level overview of the differences between reporting with the GRI Universal Standards 2016 and the GRI Universal Standards 2021. To learn the details of how to report using the revised Universal Standards, take the training course “Reporting with the GRI Standards 2021 Update”. It can be taken as a separate course or as part of the GRI Professional Certification Program.

GRI’s reporting services give you feedback on elements of your sustainability report and will help companies achieve clearly presented and referenced reported information using the Universal Standards 2021, two content index services are available: 

  • Content Index - Essentials Service: Focuses on the disclosures that cannot be omitted under the Universal Standards 2021. 
  • Content Index - Advanced Service: Reviews your report's GRI content index as a whole, covering all disclosures and omissions. 

If you also use the Sustainable Development Goals in your sustainability reporting, there is an additional check available on the links between the SDG’s and the GRI Standards. 

Please note: the final dates for accessing GRI services for reports using the 2016 GRI Standards is 14 December (for Content Index Services) and 16 December (for Materiality Disclosure Services).

GRI Community members will continue to be supported in their transition journey towards using the new standards, if they are not already doing so. 

Access the 2021 update in your language 

Translations of the Universal Standards have so far published in Spanish, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Portuguese and Japanese. Further translations in Indonesian will be made available by year end, with those in Arabic, French, German and Italian to follow by the end of January.

Further resources available 

  • Watch this presentation video for an overview of the key changes 
  • Read FAQs to answer questions you may have on making the switch 
  • Access the Mapping Spreadsheet which details changes between the 2016 and 2021 Standards