Questions about writing a report in accordance with the Standards

How can the GRI Standards be used?

The GRI Standards are structured as a set of modular, interrelated reporting standards. There are two basic approaches for using the GRI Standards:

1. Using the GRI Standards as a set to prepare a sustainability report in accordance with the Standards

The GRI Standards have been developed primarily to be used together to help an organization prepare a sustainability report which is based on the Reporting Principles and focuses on material topics.

If using this approach, the organization is required to use the three Standards in the Universal series (100) and only the topic-specific Standards (series 200, 300 and 400) that relate to the material topics identified.

2. Using selected Standards, or parts of their content, to report specific information, without preparing a report in accordance with the Standards

This option is referred to as a ‘GRI-referenced’ claim. If using this approach, the organization chooses as many or as few Standards, according to its specific reporting needs.

For each of these ways of using the Standards there is a corresponding claim, or statement of use, which organizations are required to include in any reports or published materials with disclosures based on the Standards. See Section 3 of GRI 101: Foundation for information.

How do I make a claim that a report has been prepared in accordance with the Standards?

An organization preparing a report in accordance with the GRI Standards can choose one of two options (Core or Comprehensive), depending on the degree to which the GRI Standards have been applied. For each option, there is a corresponding claim, or statement of use, that the organization is required to include in the report. These claims have set wording.

The criteria to claim that a report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards (either Core or Comprehensive option) can be found on pages 22-23 of GRI 101: Foundation.

An organization is required to notify GRI when it makes an in accordance claim in any report or published materials (see page 26 in GRI 101).

Disclosure 102-54 in GRI 102: General Disclosures requires reporting the in accordance claim made by the organization.

How can I notify GRI of the use of the GRI Standards?

Clause 3.4 in GRI 101: Foundation requires an organization to notify GRI of its use of the GRI Standards, and the claim it has made in the report or published material.

An organization can notify GRI of its use of the Standards by sending a copy of the report to GRI at standards@globalreporting.org (see clause 3.4.1 in GRI 101).

The option to register the report or published material at https://www.globalreporting.org/standards is currently under development (see clause 3.4.2 in GRI 101). This means that for now, an organization can only fulfill the requirement of clause 3.4 by sending a copy of the report to GRI.

Have the in accordance criteria changed compared to G4?

The two options for reporting in accordance (Core and Comprehensive) will continue. There have been some changes due to the new format and structure, and the content clarifications.

The criteria to claim that a report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards (either Core or Comprehensive option) can be found on pages 22-23 of GRI 101: Foundation. For an overview of changes to the G4 disclosures, consult the mapping tool.

In addition, the GRI Standards offer more flexibility for organizations that want to use selected Standards, or parts of their content, to report specific information, without preparing a report in accordance with the Standards. This is referred to as a ‘GRI-referenced’ claim.

Any organization using disclosures from the GRI Standards in published materials is required to state how it has done so. See Section 3 of GRI 101 for information on the specific claims, or statements of use, that organizations are required of organizations using the Standards.

Can I use reasons for omission for topic-specific management approach disclosures?

Reasons for omission can be used if, in exceptional cases, an organization cannot report a disclosure that is required for reporting in accordance with the GRI Standards. Reasons for omission can only be used for certain disclosures – see Table 1 in GRI 101: Foundation for more detail.

Management approach disclosures in GRI 103: Management Approach

Organizations are required to use GRI 103: Management Approach to report management information about each material topic. Reasons for omission can be used for:

  • Disclosure 103-2: The management approach and its components
  • Disclosure 103-3: Evaluation of the management approach

Reasons for omission cannot be used for Disclosure 103-1: Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary. This disclosure is required to be reported for each material topic to prepare a report in accordance with the GRI Standards.

Management approach disclosures in topic-specific Standards

Some topic-specific Standards include additional management approach requirements (see for example, clause 1.2 in GRI 305: Emissions). Organizations are required to comply with any additional management approach requirements for the topic-specific Standards used. Reasons for omission are permitted for these requirements.

See clause 3.2 in GRI 101: Foundation for the requirements to report on the reasons for omission.

How can I report information if it varies between reporting periods due to changes in the organization, such as mergers or acquisitions?

Disclosure 102-10 in GRI 102: General Disclosures requires an organization to report any significant changes to the organization’s size, structure, ownership, or supply chain during the reporting period. The list of entities included in the organization’s financial statements or equivalent documents that are covered in the report is reported with Disclosure 102-45 in GRI 102.

GRI 101: Foundation recommends that organizations ‘present information for the current reporting period and at least two previous periods’ (clause 2.7.1), although this is not a requirement to prepare a report in accordance with the GRI Standards.

If an organization does provide information for previous periods, and if the size, structure or ownership of the organization has changed so that the information can no longer be compared, it can re-calculate the information for previous periods to account for changes in the organization.

If the organization has re-calculated the information for previous periods, Disclosure 102-48 in GRI 102 requires an organization to report restatements of information.

Is external assurance or certification required to use and reference the GRI Standards?

The GSSB is an independent operating entity under the auspices of GRI, with the sole responsibility for setting globally accepted standards for sustainability reporting. It does not judge the outcome or quality of an organization’s report or whether a report is in accordance with the GRI Standards, as impartiality is important for maintaining credibility of a standard-setter.

The use of external assurance for sustainability reports is advised, but it is not required in order to make a claim that a report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards. An organization is required to report its approach to external assurance with Disclosure 102-56. For more information, see pages 41-42 in GRI 102: General Disclosures.

The GRI Standards are not subject to certification. There is no cost associated with using the GRI Standards for sustainability reporting, or with notifying GRI of the use of the Standards.

GRI offers a range of paid services which can help reporters ensure that they have prepared their reports in line with the expectations set out in the GRI Standards. For more information, see: www.globalreporting.org/services.

How do I use the Sector Disclosures together with the GRI Standards?

The GRI Sector Disclosures (which were developed for the GRI G4 Guidelines) provide additional sector-specific disclosures and guidance which can be used in conjunction with the GRI Standards. This means that it is possible to include disclosures from the GRI Sector Disclosures documents in a report prepared with the GRI Standards. The use of the GRI Sector Disclosures is recommended, but it is not required, in order to make a claim that a report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards.

Clause 2.3.1 in GRI 101: Foundation recommends that organizations consult the relevant Sector Disclosures, if available, to help identify their material topics.

For more information, see page 18 in GRI 101. The Sector Disclosures can be found on the GRI Standards website here.

It is important to note that the content of these GRI Sector Disclosures have not been updated as part of the transition from the G4 Guidelines to the GRI Standards. The GRI Sector Disclosures can, however, continue to be used as guidance as described above - both now, and after 1 July 2018, when the G4 Guidelines are phased out and completely superseded by the Standards.

The GSSB does plan to review and update the sector-specific contents in the future. However, the exact timing for this work has not yet been confirmed. More information about this initiative will be shared on the GSSB website when available.

If an organization includes any Sector Disclosures in a report prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards, it is required to list these disclosures in the GRI content index (see Disclosure 102-55 in GRI 102: General Disclosures). The organization can choose how to present these disclosures in the content index. For example, it can list all Sector Disclosures together, or under the relevant material topic. See an example of a GRI content index on page 40 of GRI 102.

Questions about writing a report in accordance with the Standards

How can the GRI Standards be used?

The GRI Standards are structured as a set of modular, interrelated reporting standards. There are two basic approaches for using the GRI Standards:

1. Using the GRI Standards as a set to prepare a sustainability report in accordance with the Standards

The GRI Standards have been developed primarily to be used together to help an organization prepare a sustainability report which is based on the Reporting Principles and focuses on material topics.

If using this approach, the organization is required to use the three Standards in the Universal series (100) and only the topic-specific Standards (series 200, 300 and 400) that relate to the material topics identified.

2. Using selected Standards, or parts of their content, to report specific information, without preparing a report in accordance with the Standards

This option is referred to as a ‘GRI-referenced’ claim. If using this approach, the organization chooses as many or as few Standards, according to its specific reporting needs.

For each of these ways of using the Standards there is a corresponding claim, or statement of use, which organizations are required to include in any reports or published materials with disclosures based on the Standards. See Section 3 of GRI 101: Foundation for information.

How do I make a claim that a report has been prepared in accordance with the Standards?

An organization preparing a report in accordance with the GRI Standards can choose one of two options (Core or Comprehensive), depending on the degree to which the GRI Standards have been applied. For each option, there is a corresponding claim, or statement of use, that the organization is required to include in the report. These claims have set wording.

The criteria to claim that a report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards (either Core or Comprehensive option) can be found on pages 22-23 of GRI 101: Foundation.

An organization is required to notify GRI when it makes an in accordance claim in any report or published materials (see page 26 in GRI 101).

Disclosure 102-54 in GRI 102: General Disclosures requires reporting the in accordance claim made by the organization.

How can I notify GRI of the use of the GRI Standards?

Clause 3.4 in GRI 101: Foundation requires an organization to notify GRI of its use of the GRI Standards, and the claim it has made in the report or published material.

An organization can notify GRI of its use of the Standards by sending a copy of the report to GRI at standards@globalreporting.org (see clause 3.4.1 in GRI 101).

The option to register the report or published material at https://www.globalreporting.org/standards is currently under development (see clause 3.4.2 in GRI 101). This means that for now, an organization can only fulfill the requirement of clause 3.4 by sending a copy of the report to GRI.

Have the in accordance criteria changed compared to G4?

The two options for reporting in accordance (Core and Comprehensive) will continue. There have been some changes due to the new format and structure, and the content clarifications.

The criteria to claim that a report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards (either Core or Comprehensive option) can be found on pages 22-23 of GRI 101: Foundation. For an overview of changes to the G4 disclosures, consult the mapping tool.

In addition, the GRI Standards offer more flexibility for organizations that want to use selected Standards, or parts of their content, to report specific information, without preparing a report in accordance with the Standards. This is referred to as a ‘GRI-referenced’ claim.

Any organization using disclosures from the GRI Standards in published materials is required to state how it has done so. See Section 3 of GRI 101 for information on the specific claims, or statements of use, that organizations are required of organizations using the Standards.

Can I use reasons for omission for topic-specific management approach disclosures?

Reasons for omission can be used if, in exceptional cases, an organization cannot report a disclosure that is required for reporting in accordance with the GRI Standards. Reasons for omission can only be used for certain disclosures – see Table 1 in GRI 101: Foundation for more detail.

Management approach disclosures in GRI 103: Management Approach

Organizations are required to use GRI 103: Management Approach to report management information about each material topic. Reasons for omission can be used for:

  • Disclosure 103-2: The management approach and its components
  • Disclosure 103-3: Evaluation of the management approach

Reasons for omission cannot be used for Disclosure 103-1: Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary. This disclosure is required to be reported for each material topic to prepare a report in accordance with the GRI Standards.

Management approach disclosures in topic-specific Standards

Some topic-specific Standards include additional management approach requirements (see for example, clause 1.2 in GRI 305: Emissions). Organizations are required to comply with any additional management approach requirements for the topic-specific Standards used. Reasons for omission are permitted for these requirements.

See clause 3.2 in GRI 101: Foundation for the requirements to report on the reasons for omission.

How can I report information if it varies between reporting periods due to changes in the organization, such as mergers or acquisitions?

Disclosure 102-10 in GRI 102: General Disclosures requires an organization to report any significant changes to the organization’s size, structure, ownership, or supply chain during the reporting period. The list of entities included in the organization’s financial statements or equivalent documents that are covered in the report is reported with Disclosure 102-45 in GRI 102.

GRI 101: Foundation recommends that organizations ‘present information for the current reporting period and at least two previous periods’ (clause 2.7.1), although this is not a requirement to prepare a report in accordance with the GRI Standards.

If an organization does provide information for previous periods, and if the size, structure or ownership of the organization has changed so that the information can no longer be compared, it can re-calculate the information for previous periods to account for changes in the organization.

If the organization has re-calculated the information for previous periods, Disclosure 102-48 in GRI 102 requires an organization to report restatements of information.

Is external assurance or certification required to use and reference the GRI Standards?

The GSSB is an independent operating entity under the auspices of GRI, with the sole responsibility for setting globally accepted standards for sustainability reporting. It does not judge the outcome or quality of an organization’s report or whether a report is in accordance with the GRI Standards, as impartiality is important for maintaining credibility of a standard-setter.

The use of external assurance for sustainability reports is advised, but it is not required in order to make a claim that a report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards. An organization is required to report its approach to external assurance with Disclosure 102-56. For more information, see pages 41-42 in GRI 102: General Disclosures.

The GRI Standards are not subject to certification. There is no cost associated with using the GRI Standards for sustainability reporting, or with notifying GRI of the use of the Standards.

GRI offers a range of paid services which can help reporters ensure that they have prepared their reports in line with the expectations set out in the GRI Standards. For more information, see: www.globalreporting.org/services. 

 

How do I use the Sector Disclosures together with the GRI Standards?

The GRI Sector Disclosures (which were developed for the GRI G4 Guidelines) provide additional sector-specific disclosures and guidance which can be used in conjunction with the GRI Standards. This means that it is possible to include disclosures from the GRI Sector Disclosures documents in a report prepared with the GRI Standards. The use of the GRI Sector Disclosures is recommended, but it is not required, in order to make a claim that a report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards.

Clause 2.3.1 in GRI 101: Foundation recommends that organizations consult the relevant Sector Disclosures, if available, to help identify their material topics.

For more information, see page 18 in GRI 101. The Sector Disclosures can be found on the GRI Standards website here.

It is important to note that the content of these GRI Sector Disclosures have not been updated as part of the transition from the G4 Guidelines to the GRI Standards. The GRI Sector Disclosures can, however, continue to be used as guidance as described above - both now, and after 1 July 2018, when the G4 Guidelines are phased out and completely superseded by the Standards.

The GSSB does plan to review and update the sector-specific contents in the future. However, the exact timing for this work has not yet been confirmed. More information about this initiative will be shared on the GSSB website when available.

If an organization includes any Sector Disclosures in a report prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards, it is required to list these disclosures in the GRI content index (see Disclosure 102-55 in GRI 102: General Disclosures). The organization can choose how to present these disclosures in the content index. For example, it can list all Sector Disclosures together, or under the relevant material topic. See an example of a GRI content index on page 40 of GRI 102.