G3: Improved, but still improvable!

Source: 4sustainability, 2 March 2006

The German sustainability reporting experts Thomas Loew (Institute 4 Sustainability) and Jens Clausen (Borderstep) have analysed G3, the new draft of the GRI guidelines. They point out that G3 is neglecting environmental aspects in the supply chain and suggest to improve the structure of the indicators in line with business functions.
For their analysis Loew and Clausen compared the draft G3 with their requirements applied in the German ranking of sustainability reports. This comparison reveals several shortcomings which should be improved.
Some important indicators are still missing. There is e.g. no G3 requirement to report on the management of environmental aspects in the supply chain. Concerning this aspect, business practice is ahead of GRI.
Furthermore, environmental product responsibility is obviously neglected. There are four product related indicators, but these are somewhat submerged amongst 26 environmental site-related indicators.
Loew and Clausen propose to restructure the set of indicators according to business functions. Doing so would bring the G3 structure closer to the structure of representative sustainability reports and would facilitate communication of the indicators within companies.
Acknowledging the improvements of GRI´s proposed new reporting guidelines, the authors seek to stimulate more systematic analysis of G3. They encourage report makers and especially NGO to participate in GRI´s structured feedback process which ends by March 31, 2006.

Their brief paper “G3: Improved, but still improvable! Suggestions to the G3-Guidelines derived from a comparison with the German Ranking of Sustainability Reports” can be downloaded.

About the Authors
Thomas Loew (Institute 4 Sustainability, Berlin), Dr. Jens Clausen (Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability, Hanover), have, together with Dr. Klaus Fichter, developed and managed the Ranking of Environmental and Sustainability Reports since 1994. They are researching and consulting in Corporate social responsibility (CSR) sustainability reporting and management and related issues. Current projects focus on the provision of sustainability information in annual reports and to assurance.

Download the paper