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GRI Revamps Governance Structure

The Global Reporting Initiative has revamped its governance structure in a move aimed at advancing “robust” global sustainability reporting standards by making the organization’s standard-setting process more independent and transparent.

Chief executive Michael Meehan says the move will help ensure credibility of GRI’s standards.

The six main features of the governance structure, which will be implemented by Jan. 31, 2015 are:

  1. An organizational firewall will be created between standard-setting activities and all other organizational activities.
  2. The global multi-stakeholder principle will be safe guarded.
  3. The Due Process Protocol for GRI’s standards development will be strengthened.
  4. An independent public funding base for GRI’s standard-setting activities will be established, separate to that of other organizational activities.
  5. All standards development processes will be transparent (meeting agendas, papers and minutes will be made available on GRI’s website).
  6. A separate governance structure for standard-setting will be implemented, including the creation of three new bodies: the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), which will develop and approve the Sustainability Reporting Standards; the Due Process Oversight Committee (DPOC), which will safeguard the application of GRI’s Due Process Protocol; and the Independent Appointments Committee (IAC) will appoint qualified, independent individuals to the GSSB and DPOC.

An August report by GRI found external assurance for sustainability reports is a growing trend in the US, with the number of US companies publishing externally assured sustainability reports rising from 10 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2013.

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