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GRI Taxonomy Helps Firms Digitally Disclose Sustainability Data

GRIThe Global Reporting Initiative today launched the GRI Taxonomy 2013 that has been fully updated for use with G4, the latest version of GRI’s sustainability reporting guidelines.

The GRI Taxonomy 2013 — which is available for free — enables reporting companies to apply the advantages of digital reporting to the G4 Guidelines, according to GRI, and is designed to give organizations better control over the quality of their sustainability performance data.

GRI developed the new taxonomy in collaboration with Deloitte. The 2014 taxonomy enables organizations to produce digital sustainability reports using the G4, G3.1 and G3 versions of the GRI Guidelines by tagging their sustainability data to make it machine-readable.

The GRI Taxonomy 2013 is developed using XBRL, which stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language. XBRL is the de facto standard for digital reporting in the financial reporting domain. With the GRI Taxonomy 2013 non-financial sustainability information can also be disclosed digitally to a company’s stakeholders.

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

By eliminating the need for report users to re-key data from printed reports, XBRL greatly reduces the risk of error in re-used data. More reliable data helps firms make smarter decisions, and to set and monitor sustainability targets and influence sustainability behavior both within the organization and among its suppliers.

GRI circulated an exposure draft of the taxonomy, which was reviewed and tested by stakeholders, as part of a public comment period from September to October.

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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