Questions about writing a report in accordance with the Standards

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.

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.

Can the range of entities reported on vary between disclosures?

Overview of entities covered by the report

Disclosure 102-45 in GRI 102: General Disclosures requires organizations to report a list of all entities included in the organization’s consolidated financial statements or equivalent documents, and whether any entity included in the organization’s consolidated financial statements or equivalent documents is not covered by the report.

An organization can report Disclosure 102-45 by referencing the information in publicly available consolidated financial statements or equivalent documents. See clause 2.6 and related guidance in GRI 101: Foundation.

If an organization covers any additional entities in its report, which are not included in its consolidated financial statements or equivalent documents, it is expected to clearly indicate this in response to Disclosure 102-45.

General disclosures

Organizations are expected to report the disclosures from GRI 102: General Disclosures consistently for all entities covered by the report, as disclosed under Disclosure 102-45. If information for a general disclosure is not available for all entities covered by the report, as disclosed under Disclosure 102-45, and the general disclosure permits the use of reasons for omission, the organization is required to provide a reason for omission and to explain which entities have been excluded from that disclosure. See Table 1 in GRI 101, which shows for which disclosures reasons for omission are permitted, and see clause 3.2 in GRI 101 for more information about reasons for omission.

For example, an organization prepares a report for its entities A, B, and C but does not have information available for Disclosure 102-17 for entity C. Table 1 in GRI 101 shows that a reason for omission is permitted for Disclosure 102-17. In this case, the organization reports the information for entities A and B and provides a reason for omission explaining that information for Disclosure 102-17 is not available for entity C.    

Management approach and topic-specific disclosures

Organizations are also expected to report the management approach and topic-specific disclosures consistently for the same entities covered by the report, as disclosed under Disclosure 102-45, although the entities to be reported may vary depending on where impacts occur for the material topic (see Disclosure 103-1-b-i where an organization describes where the impacts for a material impact occur). If not all entities disclosed under Disclosure 102-45 are relevant for reporting on a material topic, organizations are expected to clearly indicate which entities each disclosure covers.

For example, an organization prepares a report for its entities in country X and has identified ‘energy’ as a material topic. Only those entities in regions Y and Z (within country X) have significant impacts related to energy consumption. The organization can report the energy consumption for entities in regions Y and Z only, and clearly indicate this within the report.

Questions about writing a report in accordance with the Standards

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.

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. 

 

Can the range of entities reported on vary between disclosures?

Overview of entities covered by the report

Disclosure 102-45 in GRI 102: General Disclosures requires organizations to report a list of all entities included in the organization’s consolidated financial statements or equivalent documents, and whether any entity included in the organization’s consolidated financial statements or equivalent documents is not covered by the report.

An organization can report Disclosure 102-45 by referencing the information in publicly available consolidated financial statements or equivalent documents. See clause 2.6 and related guidance in GRI 101: Foundation.

If an organization covers any additional entities in its report, which are not included in its consolidated financial statements or equivalent documents, it is expected to clearly indicate this in response to Disclosure 102-45.

General disclosures

Organizations are expected to report the disclosures from GRI 102: General Disclosures consistently for all entities covered by the report, as disclosed under Disclosure 102-45. If information for a general disclosure is not available for all entities covered by the report, as disclosed under Disclosure 102-45, and the general disclosure permits the use of reasons for omission, the organization is required to provide a reason for omission and to explain which entities have been excluded from that disclosure. See Table 1 in GRI 101, which shows for which disclosures reasons for omission are permitted, and see clause 3.2 in GRI 101 for more information about reasons for omission.

For example, an organization prepares a report for its entities A, B, and C but does not have information available for Disclosure 102-17 for entity C. Table 1 in GRI 101 shows that a reason for omission is permitted for Disclosure 102-17. In this case, the organization reports the information for entities A and B and provides a reason for omission explaining that information for Disclosure 102-17 is not available for entity C.    

Management approach and topic-specific disclosures

Organizations are also expected to report the management approach and topic-specific disclosures consistently for the same entities covered by the report, as disclosed under Disclosure 102-45, although the entities to be reported may vary depending on where impacts occur for the material topic (see Disclosure 103-1-b-i where an organization describes where the impacts for a material impact occur). If not all entities disclosed under Disclosure 102-45 are relevant for reporting on a material topic, organizations are expected to clearly indicate which entities each disclosure covers.

For example, an organization prepares a report for its entities in country X and has identified ‘energy’ as a material topic. Only those entities in regions Y and Z (within country X) have significant impacts related to energy consumption. The organization can report the energy consumption for entities in regions Y and Z only, and clearly indicate this within the report.