The Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines now rank among the most widely recognized corporate social responsibility instruments among large European companies, according to new research published by the European Commission.
In a survey of the public CSR statements of 200 randomly selected large companies, the GRI Guidelines were referred to by 31 per cent of the sample companies. This was almost as frequently as the UN Global Compact, which was referred to by 32 percent of respondent companies.
The survey also took into account the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines, ISO 26000, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the International Labor Organization’s Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (ILO MNE) Declaration.
However, there is still room for improvement, according to GRI. While 95 per cent of the world’s largest companies are producing sustainability reports, overall less than 10 per cent of publicly traded companies, and companies that do business across national borders, report on their sustainability practices, GRI says.
GRI is preparing an updated version of its reporting guidelines. In October, GRI announced that it has received a record number of formal feedback submissions – 3,095 in all – from sustainability experts, organizations and professionals during the public comment periods on the new standards, known as G4.
The feedback identified several patterns, according to GRI. Among these were recommendations that the G4 draft be improved in terms of “focus, simplicity and clarity,” and that it provide better support to small businesses and beginner reporters, GRI said.
In February, GRI said that the new guidelines will require companies only to provide disclosures and indicators relevant to their business, denying claims that G4 will impose a greater burden on companies. Coca Cola Enterprises was among those companies voicing concern over the new guidelines.