New and revised human rights standards to be explored

Published date: 24 March 2021

Survey on updating GRI Topic Standards to improve human rights reporting

A survey has launched to seek views on the priority human rights issues that could be included in future in revised or new GRI Standards.

The Universal Standards – which apply to all organizations using the Standards – are being updated by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB). The new version, to launch later this year, will increase requirements for human rights and due diligence reporting, aligning with UN Guiding Principles and OECD Guidelines.

The scoping survey is open until 19 May, to determine whether changes are also required to the human rights related Topic Standards. Anyone with an interest in business and human rights – including reporting companies, civil society and investors – is encouraged to contribute, to inform the GSSB’s decision making on the development of the Standards.

Current GRI Topic Standards include those on child labor, forced labor, non-discrimination, freedom of association and collective bargaining, the rights of indigenous peoples, and security practices. The survey asks whether these existing human rights related Topic Standards are sufficient or need revised, as well as new topics that might be added.

We are fully committed to keeping the Standards up to date, so they reflect global best practice in how organizations communicate their impacts on people, the economy and the planet. That is why we are undertaking a major update of the Universal Standards, which includes greater prominence for human rights. Human rights, and the responsibilities of companies to respect them, is increasingly in the public spotlight. This scoping survey will help us assess whether the GRI Standards adequately and sufficiently address human rights issues. I would encourage all those with an interest or expertise in this area to participate.”

Bastian Buck, Chief of Standards

Find out more about the GRI project on human rights reporting and the review of the Universal Standards.

In February, GRI supported proposals for new human rights due diligence requirements, in a European Commission consultation on sustainable corporate governance.