Topic Standard Project for Human Rights
Helping businesses uphold human rights
Why human rights
Since the last update of the GRI human rights-related disclosures in 2011, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights have become an authoritative global reference point. As a result, companies now have a better understanding of their responsibilities, which they can consequently incorporate into reporting.
Recent years have also seen new business and human rights reporting frameworks and initiatives emerge, such as the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, and the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark. We have also seen the influence of the UN Guiding Principles go beyond human rights, including wider areas of responsible business conduct.
As a result of these international developments, and to ensure that GRI reporting keeps up to date with organizational responsibilities for human rights related reporting best practice, this project was launched by the GSSB in 2017.
About the project
The main objective of this project is to bring the GRI human rights-related Standards in line with key authoritative intergovernmental instruments in this area, namely the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and OECD instruments.
The project also aims to review and revise the range of human rights-related topics covered in the Standards, and the related disclosures, to ensure they reflect best practice.
The project will be carried out in two phases.
Phase 1 of the project focuses on ensuring overall alignment of the GRI Standards with key authoritative intergovernmental instruments in the area of human rights.
Phase 2 of the project will focus on updating individual Topic Standards with human rights content and on developing new Topic Standards or disclosures as needed.
This timeline is subject to change
May 2017: Project commencement
September 2017: Appointment of technical committee
January 2018 - February 2019: Development of recommendations for GSSB review
March 2019 - May 2020: Technical committee recommendations incorporated into review of GRI’s universal Standards
11 June - 9 September 2020: Public comment period
Q3 2020 - Q1 2021: Consideration of received comments and revisions
2H 2021: Release of updated Universal Standards
March 2021 - May 2021: Scoping Survey
Next steps for Phase 2: to be decided
Phase 1: Review of GRI Universal Standards
A multi-stakeholder technical committee of experts has been appointed by the GSSB to make recommendations for how to align the GRI Standards with key authoritative intergovernmental instruments in the area of human rights.
The recommendations from Phase 1 have provided input into the review of the GRI Universal Standards, which are the standards that apply to all organizations using the GRI Standards.
The proposed changes to the Universal Standards see the addition of updated content covering responsible business conduct and due diligence, including respect for human rights. Read more about the revisions to the Universal Standards here.
Phase 2: Review of GRI Topic Standards
Following the release of the revised GRI Universal Standards in the second half of 2021, the GRI human rights-specific Topic Standards will be updated. These include those on child labor, forced labor, non-discrimination, freedom of association and collective bargaining, indigenous peoples' rights, and security practices. New standards may also be developed for human rights issues not yet covered in the GRI Standards.
We launched a scoping survey to identify the priority human rights issues for revising the Topic Standards. The survey is now closed, and the results will be published shortly.