GRI: Structure & requirements

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has established itself as a pivotal standard for transparently showcasing corporate sustainability performances.

This comprehensive guide provides an in-depth overview of the GRI Standards, their structure, applications, and delves into frequently asked questions surrounding the Global Reporting Initiative.

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What is the Global Reporting Initiative?


The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is more than just an organization; it is a guide for companies committed to addressing their ecological, social, and economic impacts responsibly. GRI is on a mission to provide a framework for the creation of sustainability reports. Its guidelines serve as a compass for companies to provide comprehensive and comparable information about their impacts on the world. GRI Standards go beyond mere numbers; they encourage profound analysis and reflection on an organization's impacts and actions.

How many GRI Indicators are there?


GRI Standards stand out for their extensive list of indicators, allowing companies to quantify and qualify their sustainability performances across various dimensions. Currently, there are several hundred GRI Indicators, categorized into core topics such as Environment, Social, Labor Practices, Human Rights, and Anti-Corruption. This diversity empowers companies to make an individual selection of indicators that best reflect their specific business and sustainability goals. It is a broad spectrum that enables companies to address both general and specific aspects of their sustainability performance.

Who uses the GRI Standards?

The application of GRI Standards spans the globe and cuts across various industries. Large international corporations, as well as medium-sized enterprises and non-profit organizations, embrace GRI Standards.

Wer nutzt die GRI-Standards?

This universality makes GRI Standards a recognized instrument for the transparent presentation of sustainability efforts. GRI Standards not only provide a common language for businesses but also enable a comparable representation of performances and progress.

Stakeholders, whether investors, customers, or the wider public, can make informed decisions and better understand a company's sustainability efforts.

Is GRI mandatory?


The application of GRI Standards is not mandatory in most countries and industries. The decision to use GRI Standards lies with the company itself. However, many organizations see using GRI Standards as an opportunity to enhance and transparently showcase their sustainability performances. The non-mandatory nature creates a space for companies to address their individual challenges and goals without being confined to a rigid framework. It is this flexibility that makes GRI Standards attractive to companies looking to tailor their sustainability practices to their specific needs.

How are the GRI structured?


The structure of GRI Standards is carefully designed to provide companies with a clear and systematic approach to sustainability reporting. GRI is divided into three main parts: Principles, General Standard Disclosures, and Specific Standard Disclosures.

  1. Principles: These establish the principles for reporting and form the foundation for a holistic sustainability report. Principles include Inclusivity, Balance, Comparability, and Timeliness.

  2. General Standard Disclosures: These provide general information about the organization and its context. They cover aspects such as organizational structure, operational areas, and key influences on sustainability performance.

  3. Specific Standard Disclosures: Specific Standard Disclosures are divided into various categories, including economic, environmental, and social aspects. Within these categories, various thematic areas are addressed. This structure allows companies to selectively choose topics and indicators that are relevant to them, creating a tailored sustainability report.

The structure allows companies not only to present the numbers but also to tell the stories behind the numbers. Through this three-fold structure, the complexity of sustainability reporting is organized and made accessible.

Benefit of the GRI Standards


GRI Standards offer companies a valuable tool to transparently and comparably present their sustainability performances. The widespread application and recognition worldwide make GRI Standards an essential instrument for companies emphasizing their social responsibility and aiming to have a positive impact on the environment, society, and the economy.

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