Deadline Approaching for New G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines

Deadline Approaching for New G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines

The clock is ticking for corporations who use the Global Reporting Initiative’s G3 or G31 guidelines.

I've immersed myself in the world of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability since taking on the CMO role at 3BL Media. While I knew few technical details about sustainability reports prior to February, I've been fortunate that 3BL's clients and partners have provided a fast education on this growing segment of corporate communications.

Effective Jan. 1, 2016, all reports using GRI guidelines will need to adhere to the most current standard, G4, according to Shivani Rajpal, managing of training and coaching programs for the Amsterdam-based organization.

Rajpal closely watches statistics on the number of companies that had already made the transition to G4 in 2014 and this year.  For a deep dive on the new guidelines, visit GRI's site.

GRI is also extending an invitation to corporate executives to participate in two initiatives.

A revamped “organizational stakeholder program” is launching, and additional sustainability reporting pros are being recruited. The initial effort included 600 executives from 65 countries and 40 industry sectors, said Rajpal.

An additional opportunity for engagement with GRI involves corporate leadership groups.

“They play a central role in enriching the discussions around integrated reporting,” said Rajpal, who urged interested executives to contact Nikki McKean-Wood, GRI’s director corporate and stakeholders relations at

Rajpal emphasizes the iterative approach most companies take when first reporting on sustainability, gradually adding additional detail based on the feedback they receive from key constituencies.

“The first time reporters have very limited information to report on. But by doing stakeholder engagement exercises, they gain insights into what expectations are,” Rajpal said. “The main game for sustainability reporting is not to have a report, but to actually have a report that makes sense for the stakeholders.”