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 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. While the project will be carried out in two phases, the public consultation period to update the Universal Standards included recommendations from phase 1, which was a review of the human rights content of the Standards.

Phase 2 of the project will focus on updating individual Standards to include human rights content and the development of new Standards or disclosures as needed. The project follows the GSSB’s Due Process Protocol.

Read member bios of the technical committee appointed by the GSSB.

Project timeline

This timeline is subject to change

May 2017: Phase 1 begins

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 

Phase 2 (to be decided) 


Incorporation into Universal Standards review

The GSSB initiated the review of the Universal Standards in March 2019, to support the continuous improvement of the Standards and respond to the review of GRI's human rights related 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.

Related documents

Project proposal for review of GRI’s human rights-related Standards file 19 Sep 2020 English 140 KB
GRI Universal Standards project exposure draft file 19 Sep 2020 English 4.1 MB
GRI Topic Standards Project for Human Rights – Technical committee recommendations file 19 Sep 2020 English 1.3 MB
GRI Topic Standards Project for Human Rights – Technical committee terms of reference file 19 Sep 2020 English 235 KB
GRI Topic Standards Project for Human Rights – Project proposal file 19 Sep 2020 English 289 KB

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