Global Reporting Initiative- G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines

Published on October 16th, 2006 | by

GrilogoThe Global Reporting Initiative” is a large multi-stakeholder network of thousands of experts, in dozens of countries worldwide, who participate in GRI’s working groups and governance bodies, use the GRI Guidelines to report, access information in GRI-based reports, or contribute to develop the Reporting Framework in other ways – both formally and informally. 

Earlier this month, GRI launched the next generation framework for businesses and other organizations to report on tough issues like climate change, corporate governance, and child labor. GRI’s third iteration (“G3”) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (previous releases in 2000 and 2002) are a landmark in the ongoing history of sustainability reporting and corporate social responsibility. The G3 Guidelines build upon the tried and proven 2002 Guidelines, which are in use by upwards of 1000 organizations, including Microsoft, ABN Amro, Anglo American, Nike, Gap, Petrobras and Novartis.  The Guidelines are widely recognized for bringing sustainability reporting into the business mainstream.


The new G3 Guidelines are simpler, help organizations focus on material issues and support improved sustainability performace.  They are harmonized with the UN Global Compact, are more useful for investores and analysts, and bring corporate governance into sharp focus.

Senior business leaders say the time has now come for all businesses to report their sustainability and use the G3 Guidelines. 

Sir Mark Moody Stuart, Chair of Anglo American, and GRI Board Member, says that the G3 Guidelines are the global framework for sustainability reporting, and businesses and other organizations now have no excuse to not report.

“GRI’s G3 Guidelines capitalize on reporting experience at some of the world’s leading companies.  They are technically strong and trusted.  The time has now come for all businesses to use the G3 Guidelines”, Stuart says.

Business leaders now see a clear business case for sustainability reporting, which reduces risk and the cost of capital, helps attract and retain customers and staff, supports stakeholder engagement and creates new business opportunities.

Already 69% of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index use the GRI Guidelines, and 60% of the S&P 100.  The push to get all businesses onboard will be helped by the G3’s consolidated indicators, which have been refined and reduced to simplify reporting. 

Especially useful for investors and analysts is the new high level Strategy and Analysis section, which discloses the approach to sustainability management, and the Disclosure on Management Approach, which shows how policies, procedures and goals affect issue management and performance.  Further enhancing transparency, G3 reporters declare their application levels, showing how much of the reporting framework they have used.

Harmonization with the UN Global Compact means that UNGC Communication on Progress can now take the form of a G3 report.  G3 reports also satisfy the UNGC disclosure requests on Commitment, Systems, Action and Performance

GRI Chief Executive, Ernst Ligteringen, says that sustainability reporting on economic, environmental, and social performance must become as routine and comparable as financial reporting.  “The G3 Guidelines were hewn from the practical experience of companies that pioneered reporting, and from the needs of their report users – including investors, consumers, civil society, and employees. The Guidelines are trusted, credible, and relevant because of the way they were created”, Ligteringen says.

About the Author

John-Paul Maxfield is the founder of Waste Farmers. Waste Farmers is a next generation sustainable agricultural company focused on helping humanity meet current and future food demands, while decreasing agriculture’s environmental footprint. The Company started in 2009 with $9,000 and a belief that idealism and capitalism can coexist. Today Waste Farmers has evolved into an innovator respected by leaders in the global community for developing simple solutions to the complex problems of modern agriculture and food security. Prior to starting Waste Farmers, John-Paul founded the "The Inspired Economist", a blog focused on covering the people, places, ideas, and technologies inspiring positive change and redefining capitalism. In addition, John-Paul served as an Associate a private equity group specializing in small to mid cap service companies. In this capacity he focused on planning, forecasting, budgeting, and performance evaluation of MBH and its designated subsidiaries. Prior to joining MBH, John-Paul was an Analyst with Alvarez and Marsal where he spent the majority of his time on a team that aided Louisiana’s Recovery School District with the restoration of public schools post Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. John-Paul is active in the Colorado community, serving on the Board of the Rocky Mountain MS Center. In 2007 he was selected as one of the “Fifty for the Future” by the Colorado Statesman and is a graduate of the inaugural class of Impact Denver. John-Paul holds a BA from the University of Colorado.