In February 2019, the GSSB, that operates under the auspices of GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) and oversees the development of the GRI Standards, approved the GRI Sector Program. Its aim is to develop GRI Standards for specific sectors and to identify and describe a sector’s impacts and stakeholder concerns from a sustainable development perspective.
Social and ecological challenges need sustainable actions – GRI Sector Program will help to understand the most important sector-related impacts on society and environment
To address global challenges urgently, sustainable actions are needed. Sustainability reporting can help organizations and companies understand their impacts on the environment and society as well as structure, reflect and review their sustainability management. On this basis, a company can reduce its negative impacts and in turn, improve its sustainability performance. Currently, it might be difficult for a range of companies to understand their most significant sector-specific impacts as GRI Standards are providing general requirements for sustainability reporting without any larger sector focus. The GRI Sector Program will help address these issues and line out sustainability impacts that matter most for important sectors. Furthermore, the GRI Sector Program will contribute to a continuous improvement of the GRI Standards and to complete or at least supplement its reporting framework.
The process for the GRI Sector Program starts with identifying sector-relevant issues
The process for developing sector standards contains the following steps:
- Identification of relevant issues for a covered sector
- Formation of a multi-stakeholder, expert Project Working Group or Technical Committee
- Survey of the Group for identification of significant impacts and stakeholder expectations
- Draft development by assessing the identified issues and their descriptions
- Exposure of draft Sector Standards to public comment and incorporation of public feedback
- Finalization and release of the Sector Standard
It is currently anticipated that an average sector project lifecycle is approximately 15 months. The process and timelines will be field tested during the pilot project. Learnings from the pilot project may cause changes in scope or process that may impact the project lifecycle.
The GRI Sector Program has started with two pilot projects covering the Oil and Gas and the Agricultural sector
Two pilot projects commenced with an open call for nominations for a Project Working Group in the end of March 2019. These projects are intended to field test the sector strategy, streamline project processes and build team capacity. The focus lies on an Oil and Gas Sector Standard as well as on an Agriculture Sector Standard.
For this, the Standards Division analyses the sector coverage following criteria like the economic, environmental and social impacts of the sector, the role in sustainable development and the number of existing GRI reports from the sector. Based on this, the Standards Division suggests the number and sequencing of sectors for the GSSB’s approval. GSSB will decide the sector coverage and the order of these sectors.
The recruitment stage for the Project Working Group has already started and will end in mid-May. On 26th May 2019 the GSSB will approve the Project Working Group memberships via electronic vote. Afterwards, the working group will start with the content-related work of the pilot sector standards in order to develop a draft that will be approved by GSSB until 21stNovember 2019. In December 2019 the public comment period will start. The publication of the final draft of the two Sector Standards is expected for June 2020.
Support by DFGE for GRI
The DFGE has been supporting companies in their sustainability efforts since 1999 and has extensive expertise in CSR reporting and accounting. With customized service packages, the DFGE advises companies based on their individual needs. Related to GRI we assist you in the materiality analysis, in the data and key figures collection as well as in the complete creation of a GRI report. Furthermore, DFGE will keep you informed regarding the development of GRI Sector Standards. For more details in this context, please see the GRI Sector Program description as well as the project proposals for an Oil and Gas and for an Agricultural Sector Standard. If you have any questions related to this topic or any other requests, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 08192-99733-20.