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GRI

GRI Digitizes G4, Uses Open-Source Tagging Language

GRIThe Global Reporting Initiative says the first draft of the GRI G4 Taxonomy will be available for public comment on Sept. 9.

The GRI released G4, the latest version of its sustainability reporting guidelines that place more emphasis on materiality, in May.

The GRI developed the GRI Taxonomy — which is available for free — in collaboration with Deloitte Netherlands. The two organizations launched the original version is 2012 and are now continuing their collaboration to add the new G4 Guidelines to the Taxonomy. It’s one of the first XBRL taxonomies for sustainability reporting, the GRI and Deloitte say, intended to help investors, auditors and analysts to access information in sustainability reports faster, and more simply.

XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language. It’s an open-source tagging language similar to XML used worldwide for tagging data in financial reports.

By tagging the data once, the GRI says organizations can gain better control over the quality and integrity of their sustainability performance data. This will help investors, auditors and other report users to access and compare GRI data without the need for excessive manual work.

Also, while mistakes can be introduced when report users re-key data from printed reports, with XBRL there is no need to re-key data, so the risk of human error is eliminated. This results in re-used data being more reliable.

More reliable data helps organizations set and monitor sustainability targets and influence sustainability behavior within the organization and in connection with its suppliers, the GRI says.

Other benefits of XBRL include:

  • Faster data collection, aggregation and sorting analysis.
  • Enhanced ability to customize reporting to meet the specific needs of information users such as investors and analysts.
  • Compatibility with financial reporting systems and requirements.

The draft G4 Taxonomy will be available for public comment from Sept. 9 to Oct. 25. During this time, reporting companies and organizations can test and provide feedback on the taxonomy. The GRI will launch the final version in November.

On Oct. 4, the GRI will host a webinar about the draft taxonomy. To register, contact xbrl@globalreporting.org.

In a recent EL Analysts report, Verdantix’s Abbie Curtis analyzes how the G4 framework will change the state of sustainability reporting.

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