An extensive process is underway to update the 2002 Global Report Initiative (GRI) Guidelines by mid-2006. As part of its contribution to this process, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) has published a free report drawing on the experiences of 19 member companies. Based on these interviews, the report sets out specific recommendations that address the need for a practical, user-friendly and technically sound set of Guidelines.
Reporting As a Process details key findings on issues such as stakeholder dialogue, applying the GRI Reporting Principles, the relationship between sustainability reports and annual reports, and putting reports to use. BSR interviewed practitioners at companies spanning a range of industries, including: information & communications technology; transport; pharmaceuticals; food & agriculture; extractives, oil & gas; and consumer products. All of the companies interviewed published CSR reports that referenced the GRI Guidelines.
According to Dunstan Hope, director of BSRs Information & Communications Technology practice, the company feedback provides valuable insights into the future of the GRI. Almost without exception, companies were making the case for the Guidelines to be more user-friendly; but no one appeared to advocate that the purpose or concept of the Guidelines needed re-visiting, or that the fundamental content needed substantial overhauling. Companies appear to want evolution, not revolution, Hope said.
The GRI Guidelines are for voluntary use by organizations for reporting on the economic, environmental and social dimensions of their activities, products and services. By the end of May 2005, 660 organizations had referenced the GRI Guidelines in their reports, and of these 56 were published in accordance with the GRI Guidelines.
NOTE: The opinions expressed in Reporting As a Process are the views of BSR and are not necessarily those of BSR member companies.