What are the GRI Standards?
The GRI Standards are a set of internationally recognized CSR standards to report on sustainability topics. Usually, organizations use them to structure their sustainability/CSR a report. Such report is a tool used to disclose information to stakeholders, e.g. parties impacted by the organizations’ activities. Organizations report their commitments, their actions and usually indicators about their environmental, social and governance impacts.
When publishing a report, companies choose between two options to decide to which extent they are in accordance with the Standards: Core and Comprehensive. The in-accordance option “Core” is less stringent than the “Comprehensive”. If the organization fails to comply to some requirements of the chosen in-accordance option, it is also possible to use part of the standards, by making a GRI-referenced claim.
So the good news is: If you do not wish to publish a full report for any reason, you can still use the GRI Standards to shape your strategy and own monitoring!
GRI Standards to tune the strategy
Many companies, even without having a structured and unified approach of sustainability / CSR, have already included such topics into their management systems. For example, it is very common to have Quality and Safety departments, Human Resources processes or even Compliance officers enforcing the code of conduct.
However, when it comes to including more topics and gather them over an overarching structure, you may wonder which topics to add, and which topics are of interest to you.
The GRI Standards presents principles and a methodology that can be applied to identify such material topics.
In this sense, you need to:
- Identify where the impact occurs
- Relate the impacts to global sustainability challenges
- Include the stakeholders opinions and needs when thinking of the strategy
The standard GRI 101 – Foundation provides guidance on how to identify such topics, by following specific principles.
Once you know which topics are relevant for you and your stakeholders, and once you have prioritized them, you can assess your progress on them.
GRI Standards to assess KPI
The GRI Standards are composed of 36 standards, which contains themselves disclosures. Disclosures are indicators or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which can be used to quantify the achievement of certain topics.
To know which KPIs to follow, you can either use the GRI standards to list the material topics, or you can simply check what you need internally.
For example, if you think energy reduction is an important topic for your company, you can use the GRI Standard GRI 302: ENERGY 2016, and more precisely apply the requirements of the disclosure – Disclosure 302-4 Reduction of energy consumption.
When reading the GRI explanations, you will see that Minimum requirements are set, then recommendations and further guidance are provided. It should give you enough visibility to proceed to assessing KPIs.
What are the next steps for you?
- Structure your CSR approach
- Identify the important topics
- Start collecting data internally
- Assess the KPIs you need
- If you want, publish them in a report
- For any publication, you need to notify GRI simply by sending them a copy to at ; or by registering the report or published material at http://www.globalreporting.org/standards
Lost in all this? Contact DFGE at . We help you define your strategy, structure your KPI monitoring based on GRI, and prepare the entire contents of the reports for you! Consult our GRI page for more details. You can also check the GRI Standards.