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Higher GRI Application Levels Mean Better Sustainability, Report Finds

Companies with a higher Global Reporting Initiative application level are better able to manage their sustainability impacts than those with a lower application level, according to research by corporate responsibility and sustainability consulting firm BrownFlynn.

Companies with a GRI application level of A receive an average sustainability rating of 57.4 out of 100 from sustainability ranking aggregator CSRHub. Those with an application level of C receive an average sustainability rating of 54.9, according to GRI Application Levels: Why Strive for an A? The CSRHub score rates how well GRI reporters did on more than 130 global sustainability rankings.

As GRI application levels relate to transparency rather than sustainability, the consultancy says that at first glance application levels can appear insignificant as a measure of sustainability performance. But when looking at the specifics of the required disclosures, implicit quality controls built into GRI application levels facilitate a company’s greater commitment to sustainability. This in turn encourages high quality disclosures, the report says.

In addition, companies seeking an application level of A or B have to have in place “established policies, procedures, training, goals and internal controls” to manage their sustainability programs.

A or B companies also generally enjoy a better reputation for sustainability performance, the report says.

GRI’s own sustainability report was released earlier this month. The report showed that emissions from the body’s secretariat had increased year-on-year.

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