Development of GRI Sector Standards

The GRI Sector Program is a new program in which standards will be developed that are specific to certain sectors. The GRI Sector Standards will identify and describe a sector’s impacts and stakeholder concerns from a sustainable development perspective.

Watch the video below for a brief introduction to the program and an update on our work-to-date.

First draft Standard open for public comment

The Sector Program is currently in the pilot phase and has commenced projects for the oil, gas, coal, agriculture and fishing sectors. The first pilot Sector Standard - GRI Sector Standard: Oil and Gas - is available for public comment until 6 October 2020.

As this is the first Sector Standard, this public comment period will be gathering feedback on:

  • the value, clarity, and feasibility of the proposed structure and implementation approach of the exposure draft as a template for all Sector Standards; and
  • the completeness and relevancy of the oil and gas content presented in the exposure draft, including whether it reflects the impacts of the oil and gas sector, meets stakeholder expectations of reporting by oil and gas organizations, and aligns with reporting organizations’ understanding of their likely material topics.

Background

The stakes are rising for tackling global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and human rights challenges. According to the UN’s 2030 Agenda, urgent and accelerated action is needed to address global challenges facing the economy, the environment, and society. Different actions will be needed from different sectors to meet these challenges.

Sustainability reporting by individual companies has not always consistently addressed a sector’s key challenges. Reasons for this may include a lack of clarity on a sector’s most significant impacts or a lack of consistent application of the principles for defining report content. To inform sustainable decisions, more clarity is needed on which issues constitute a sector’s most significant impacts, from a sustainable development perspective.

Authoritative information on sector-specific impacts can focus sustainability reporting on the issues that matter most and can both reflect and set stakeholder expectations for the sector’s sustainability reporting. This will improve transparency and accountability, leading to a stronger foundation for sustainable decision making. The GRI Sector Standards can provide this foundation.

For more details, please see the Sector Program description.

Prioritization

Sector prioritization is led by the significance of impacts – the higher the impact a sector has on sustainable development, the higher its priority. Ultimately, the aim is for the GRI Sector Program to cover all high-impact sectors.

The first sectors selected – oil, gas, and coal, and agriculture and fishing– have widely documented impacts across the economic, environmental, and social dimensions, such as impacts on climate change, biodiversity, and human rights.

Process

GRI Sector Standards are issued by the GSSB, which operates under the GSSB Terms of Reference to oversee the development of the GRI Standards according to a formally defined Due Process Protocol.

G4 Sector Disclosures

While the Sector Standards are under development, the G4 Sector Disclosures (developed for the GRI G4 Guidelines) can provide additional sector disclosures and guidance which can be used in conjunction with the GRI Standards. The content of these have not been updated as part of the transition from the G4 Guidelines to the GRI Standards.