Questions about transitioning from G4 to GRI Standards

What has changed compared to G4?

The GRI Standards are based on the content from the G4 Guidelines and feature the following main changes and improvements:

  • New modular structure: The GRI Standards are organized as a set of modular, interrelated standards. The Standards bring together content from both the G4 Guidelines and the G4 Implementation Manual. 

  • Revised format with clearer requirements: The new format has clear distinctions between requirements (indicated by ‘shall’), recommendations (indicated by ‘should’), and guidance.

  • Content clarifications: Key concepts and disclosures from G4 have been clarified to improve understanding and application of the Standards (e.g., how to define the topic Boundary, how to report on topics not covered by the GRI Standards, ‘employee’/‘worker’ terminology).

  • Greater flexibility and transparency in how to use the Standards: For organizations preparing a report in accordance with the Standards as well as for those using selected Standards to report specific information.

  • Restructuring/relocating selected content: Some disclosures and ‘Aspects’ from G4 have been merged or integrated into other sections in order to reduce duplication and to improve the logical flow of the Standards. These changes are set out in detail in the ‘Mapping G4 to the GRI Standards’ tool.

  • Overall editing: Content from G4 has been edited for greater clarity and simpler language.

All key concepts and most disclosures from G4 have carried through to the GRI Standards (the Reporting Principles, reporting the management approach, and the emphasis on reporting only material topics remain). Therefore, for organizations already reporting in accordance with G4, impacts on the reporting process should be relatively minor.

When will the GRI Standards come into effect? Can I use them now?

The GRI Standards will be effective for reports or other materials published on or after 1 July 2018. The G4 Guidelines will remain valid until then.

Earlier adoption of the GRI Standards is encouraged.

What sector-specific guidance is available for use with the GRI Standards?

With the transition from G4 Guidelines to GRI Standards, the G4 Sector Disclosures remain valid. The use of the G4 Sector Disclosures is recommended for organizations using the GRI Standards, but is not a requirement for preparing a report in accordance with the Standards (see GRI 101: Foundation, Section 2 for more detail). 

The GSSB does intend to initiate work to update sector guidance, starting in 2017. More information will be shared on the GSSB page once it is available.