We asked a new joiner to the CSR-in-Action team, who partook in her first Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards learning session with captains of industry between 9 and 10 March 2022 and thought to share a summary of her thoughts about this well-thought-out course.
The GRI is the leading standard for dual materiality reporting – covering environmental, social, governance, and economic topics – and reinforces the following about sustainability management.
- Stakeholder Engagement.
The GRI Standards harp on the full and iterative engagement of all of a business’ stakeholders who are impacted by or are interested in the operations of the organisation. All individuals or groups that have interests or that could be affected by an organisation’s activity must be carried along to negate the negative impact.
- Human Rights.
At the heart of the GRI are standards that recognise and protect the dignity of all human beings. Human rights govern how individual human beings live in society, side by side with each other, and their relationship with organisations that they work with. The GRI standards reinforce the need for humans to acknowledge human rights in all their activities, in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPHR).
- Ethical Approach to Business.
The GRI standards promote ethical business practices. The Universal, Sector, and Topic standards all encourage organisations to carry out their business activities in ethical ways.
- Organisational Impact on the Environment.
The impact of the organisation on the environment is key in the GRI Standards. How business operations impact the water quality, air quality, vegetation, land, are part of the values the GRI Standards strongly promote as we manage our present for future generations.
- Accountability to the Public.
With the GRI reporting, most organisations consciously work at being more accountable to the public. While accountability in the past was limited to an organisation’s financials, now accountability involves every other aspect of a business’s daily activities.
- Compliance with Regulations.
Organisational compliance is usually low where there is no enforcement by regulatory authorities. With the GRI standards, organisations are ‘moral-suaded’ to comply with occupational, health, standards, and environmental standards without being compelled to.
- Corporate Responsibility.
GRI reinforces corporate responsibility in organisations. Business entities that seek to report in accordance or make reference to the GRI Standards now make a concerted effort to operate in ways that enhance their brands through Corporate Social Responsibility programs, philanthropy, and volunteer efforts that are tied to their brand’s values.