sustainabilityThe Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) says record amount of feedback received from sustainability experts, organizations and professionals on the next generation of the GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines reflect a growing interest worldwide in sustainability reporting.

GRI produces a comprehensive sustainability reporting framework that is widely used around the world. GRI is now working on the next generation of its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines – G4. As part of the development process, GRI held two Public Comment Periods (PCPs). The first, held from August to November 2011, aimed to gather opinions on sustainability reporting, through an online survey. The second PCP, open from June to September 2012, aimed to gather the public’s feedback on the G4 Exposure Draft, to ensure the Guidelines are relevant and useful for all organizations worldwide.

The GRI received 3,095 submissions during two comment periods.

GRI Deputy Chief Executive Nelmara Arbex, who is leading the G4 development process, said, “This really shows how far sustainability reporting has come since GRI released its first Guidelines in 2000. By providing input to the G4 development process, professionals and organizations worldwide are helping to ensure that the Guidelines meet their needs, as we move towards making sustainability reporting standard practice.”

GRI develops reporting guidance through a Due Process, involving thousands of experts worldwide. Working Groups with members representing business, financial markets, civil society organizations, labor, and mediating institutions (including accountancy, consultancy and academic institutions) develop proposals for new and improved guidance. These proposals are then exposed for public feedback for 90 days. Feedback is gathered and analyzed, and the Working Groups develop a final draft for approval by GRI’s governance bodies.

Nelmara Arbex added: “GRI uses this multi-stakeholder approach to developing guidance because it works: the GRI Guidelines are free for public use, so the public should be involved in their development. The public and organizations want to engage with the Due Process. Realism is one major benefit of a Public Comment Period – GRI doesn’t just produce guidance because it’s ‘right’: it has to be realistic and useable.”

The G4 development is focused on seven main areas: The G4 Exposure Draft featured proposed updates to Boundary, Application Levels, Governance and Remuneration, Supply Chain, Disclosures on Management Approach; and the new guidance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Anti-Corruption is still available for public comment until 12 November. For more information and to provide feedback:

The G4 Guidelines will be launched during GRI’s Global Conference on Sustainability and Reporting, in May 2013. For more information, see the Conference website: