What should be in corporate sustainability reports?

October 5, 2011
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The G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines to be issued by the Global Reporting Initiative are the fourth generation of guidelines from GRI.

G4 is planned to be published in 2013.

It will be developed using GRI’s multi-stakeholder international consultation process. Public consultation periods, diverse expert Working Groups and GRI’s approval procedures will ensure that G4’s guidance is consensus-based and reflects the broadest possible stakeholder input.

GRI believes that G4 will improve sustainability reporting guidance, by making it more focused, helping reports be more relevant.

G4 project sponsors include: Alcoa, General Electric, Shell, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs, Enel, Natura, Deloitte, and pwc.

The first Public Comment Period for G4 is now open. It runs for 90 days and closes on 24 November 2011.

The survey seeks crucial feedback on issues like:

  • the principal reasons for sustainability reporting
  • report formats
  • the minimum content of a GRI sustainability report
  • report topics – including views on the proposals from the public ‘Call for sustainability reporting topics’ in May
  • general experiences with sustainability reporting


The survey asks, among other questions: Why do organizations publish sustainability reports? What topics should be reported?

Occupational health and safety is one of the labor-related topics, and one of at least 35 overall reporting topics that cover economics, environmental affairs, human rights, societal impact and product responsibility.

The recently launched Center for Safety and Health in Sustainability intends to submit public comments to expand occupational health and safety reporting metrics beyond mere injury and illness rates. The Center’s aim is for occupational health and safety to carry more weight in overall sustainability reporting measures.

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