Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Information presented in this profile is for reference only. The Climate Action in Financial Institutions Initiative does not guarantee as to the exhaustiveness of this information and invites you to contact the Secretariat (contact@mainstreamingclimate.org) if you wish to propose any modifications.

By including this profile, the Initiative, its Supporting Institutions and the Secretariat do not endorse the activities described below nor the guidance and information provided in this profile.

Last updated: July 2018

Website: www.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

Contact: info@globalreporting.org

Summary: The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), is an international organization founded in 1997, which provides frameworks and guidance on sustainability reporting. Topics taken up by the initiative include climate change, human rights, governance and social well-being. While the initiative initially targeted investors, it now addresses a multi-stakeholder audience. The principal output of the Initiative is the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards, which have been continuously developed over 20 years.

What are the objectives of the initiative?

“​GRI helps businesses and governments worldwide understand and communicate their impact on critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights, governance and social well-being. This enables real action to create social, environmental and economic benefits for everyone.”[1]

How is climate change specifically addressed?

“For business, climate change involves risks and opportunities beyond carbon and energy, including human rights, resource constraints, biodiversity and many others. GRI helps organizations understand the connections between climate change and other sustainability challenges.”

Source: www.globalreporting.org/information/current-priorities/Pages/Climate-change.aspx

The GRI standards contain, among other topics, questions on climate risks and GHG emissions and the GRI also supports the work done by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Who launched it? Who is participating?

The GRI’s “roots lie in the US non-profit organizations the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) and the Tellus Institute. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was also involved in the establishment of GRI.”[2]

“GRI works with a global multi-stakeholder network that includes experts who participate in Working Groups and governance bodies, reporters, and report users.”[3]

Why has this been put into place?

“The aim was to create an accountability mechanism to ensure companies were following the CERES Principles for responsible environmental conduct. Investors were the framework’s original target audience.”[4]

What are the main work streams/areas of work?

“In order to deliver on its mission, GRI has identified four focus areas for the coming years:

  1. ​Create standards and guidance to advance sustainable development: Provide the market with leadership on consistent sustainability disclosures, including engaging with stakeholders on emerging sustainability issues.
  2. Harmonize the sustainability landscape: Make GRI the central hub for sustainability reporting frameworks and initiatives, and select collaboration and partnership opportunities that serve GRI’s vision and mission.
  3. Lead efficient and effective sustainability reporting: Improve the quality of disclosures made using the GRI Standards, reducing reporting burden and exploring reporting processes that aid decision making.
  4. Drive effective use of sustainability information to improve performance: Work with policy makers, stock exchanges, regulators and investors to drive transparency and enable effective reporting.” [5]

What are  outcomes of the Initiative linked with the 5 Principles ?

According to the GRI: [They] produce the world’s most trusted and widely used standards for sustainability reporting, the GRI Standards, which enable organizations to measure and understand their most critical impacts on the environment, society and the economy. Thousands of reporters in over 90 countries use GRI’s Standards – a free public good – for their reporting.”[6]

“Sustainability reporting is carried out by companies and organizations of all types, sizes and sectors. Of the world’s largest 250 corporation, 93% report on their sustainability performance and 82% of these use GRI’s Standards to do so.”[7]

Have intermediate or final reports / guidance been issued?

Source: www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Consolidated set of GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards (2018) – “The GRI Standards are the first global standards for sustainability reporting. They feature a modular, interrelated structure, and represent the global best practice for reporting on a range of economic, environmental and social impacts.”

Linking GRI and CDP How are the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards and CDP’s 2017 climate change questions aligned? (2016) – “This publication provides useful cross-references between the GRI Standards and CDP’s 2017 climate change information request for organizations that wish to use them in conjunction. The document provides two tables which give an overview of how the CDP climate change questions align with the GRI Standards, and vice versa.”

Calendar and milestones

 

* www.globalreporting.org/information/about-gri/governance-bodies/Global-Sustainability-Standard-Board/Pages/default.aspx

Associated Supporting institutions of the Climate Action in Financial Institutions Initiative being a member of the GRI GOLD Community (“GRI’s core supporters”) include:

[1] www.globalreporting.org/Information/about-gri/Pages/default.aspx

[2] www.globalreporting.org/information/about-gri/gri-history/Pages/GRI’s%20history.aspx

[3] www.globalreporting.org/network/network-structure/Pages/default.aspx

[4] www.globalreporting.org/information/about-gri/gri-history/Pages/GRI’s%20history.aspx

[5] www.globalreporting.org/Information/about-gri/Pages/default.aspx

[6] www.globalreporting.org/information/news-and-press-center/press-resources/Pages/default.aspx

[7] www.globalreporting.org/information/news-and-press-center/press-resources/Pages/default.aspx

[8] www.unepfi.org/publications/general-publications/gri-financial-services-sector-supplement/

Links with the 5 Voluntary Principles for Mainstreaming Climate Action

This section aims to support discussions on the implementation of the 5 voluntary Principles for Mainstreaming Climate Action. Information provided in this section is for reference only; the Climate Action in Financial Institutions Initiative, its Supporting Institutions and the Secretariat do not endorse the activities nor the guidance and information provided in this section.

The GRI G4 Financial Services Sector Disclosures makes recommendations regarding reporting on:

  1. “Policies with specific environmental and social components applied to business lines (former FS1)

Report the following:

  • Policies and the body (e.g. Board of Directors) or department that approved it;
  • Features of the policies (e.g. content, business lines covered, geographical areas, specific standards referenced etc.);
  • Key risks/opportunities/impacts that each policy is intended to address;
  • Which policies are publicly available and where to find these policies;
  • How policies influence decision-making about existing or future products/services and in engagement with stakeholders; and
  • Any specific exclusions required within the policies.”

2. “Process(es) for improving staff competency to implement the environmental and social policies and procedures as applied to business lines (former FS4)

Report the following:

  • The process(es) the reporting organization uses to ensure staff managing environmental and social risks and opportunities have the competencies to implement the environmental and social policies and procedures as applied to business lines; and
  • The recipients of these activities, the focus of the activities and whether the activities undertaken (e.g. training, mentoring etc.) are part of core training, additional or stand-alone/on-off training.”

The GRI G4 Financial Services Sector Disclosures makes recommendations regarding reporting on: “Procedures for assessing and screening environmental and social risks in business lines (former FS2)

Report the following:

  • The process and procedures used to screen and assess environmental and social risks, including the use of third-party, non-client consultants or other information sources for identifying and assessing risks. Where these relate to specific polices reported under Policies with specific environmental and social components applied to business lines (former FS1), this should be noted;
  • The roles of the departments or committees responsible for implementing and monitoring the environmental and social risk assessment procedures;
  • How outcomes influence transaction decisions (e.g., decision to decline or approve transaction, addition of preferential conditions, adding performance standards to the transaction, establishing monitor requirements, etc.); and
  • The thresholds applied to determine whether environmental and social risk assessment is needed, including any variations by geography or across different products/ services.”

 

The Consolidated set of GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards includes a chapter on risks and opportunities linked to climate change:

“Disclosure 201-2

Financial implications and other risks and opportunities due to climate change

Reporting requirements

The reporting organization shall report the following information:

  1. Risks and opportunities posed by climate change that have the potential to generate substantive changes in operations, revenue, or expenditure, including:
  2. A description of the risk or opportunity and its classification as either physical, regulatory, or other;
  3. A description of the impact associated with the risk or opportunity;
  • The financial implications of the risk or opportunity before action is take;
  1. The methods used to manage the risk or opportunity;
  2. The costs of actions taken to manage the risk or opportunity.

Reporting recommendations

2.3 When compiling the information specified in Disclosure 201-2, the reporting organization should report the following additional characteristics for the identified risks and opportunities:

2.3.1 A description of the risk or opportunity driver, such as a particular piece of legislation, or a physical driver, such as water scarcity;

2.3.2 The projected time frame in which the risk or opportunity is expected to have substantive financial implications;

2.3.3 Direct and indirect impacts (whether the impact directly affects the organization, or indirectly affects the organization via its value chain);

2.3.4 The potential impacts generally, including increased or decreased:

2.3.4.1 capital and operational costs;

2.3.4.2 demand for products and services;

2.3.4.3 capital availability and investment opportunities;

2.3.5 Likelihood (the probability of the impact on the organization);

2.3.6 Magnitude of impact (if occurring, the extent to which the impact affects the organization financially).”

The GRI G4 Financial Services Sector Disclosures makes recommendations regarding reporting on:

  1. “Interactions with clients/investees/business partners regarding environmental and social risks and opportunities (former FS5)

Report the following:

  • Summary of interactions undertaken including primary topics, goals, and outcomes;
  • The departments and/or organizations undertaking interactions;
  • Methods adopted to priorities topics and targets for interactions;
  • Methods employed (e.g., face-to-face meetings, questions); and
  • The process for monitoring and following up the outcome of interactions.”

2. “Voting policy(ies) applied to environmental or social issues for shares over which the reporting organization holds the right to vote shares or advises on voting (former FS12)

Report the following:

  • If any guidelines exist for voting on environmental or social issues, describe the primary aspects covered and explain circumstances under which significant deviations are allowed;
  • If these voting guidelines only apply to subsidiaries in the organization, then this should be stated;
  • The location of any publicly available voting guidelines;
  • The location of any publicly available voting records; and
  • Summary of voting practices during the reporting period including explanation of significant deviations from voting policies.”

The 2018 Consolidated set of GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards contain reporting requirements and recommendations on different environmental topics (materials, energy, water, biodiversity, emissions, effluents and waste, environmental compliance, supplier environmental assessment). The Standards on emissions include:

“Direct (Scope 1) GHG emissions

Reporting requirements

The reporting organization shall report the following information:

  1. Gross direct (Scope 1) GHG emissions in metric tons of CO2
  2. Gases included in the calculation; whether CO2, N2O, HGCs, PFCs, SF6, NF3, or all.
  3. Biogenic CO2 emissions in metric tons of CO2
  4. Base year for the calculation, if applicable, including:
  5. The rationale for choosing it;
  6. Emissions in the base year;
  • The context for any significant changes in emissions that triggered recalculations of base year emissions.
  1. Source of the emission factors and the global warming potential (GWP) rates used; or a reference to the GWP source.
  2. Consolidation approach for emissions; whether equity share, financial control, or operational control.
  3. Standards, methodologies, assumptions, and/or calculation tools used.

Reporting recommendations

2.2 When compiling the information specified in Disclosure 305-1, the reporting organization should:

2.2.1 apply emission factors and GWP rates consistently for the data disclosed;

2.2.2 use the GWP rates from the IPCC assessment reports based on a 100-year timeframe;

2.2.3 select a consistent approach for consolidating direct (Scope 1) and energy indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions; choosing from the equity share, financial control, or operational control methods outlined in the ‘GHG Protocol Corporate Standard’;

2.2.4 if subject to different standards and methodologies, describe the approach to selecting them;

2.2.5 where it aids transparency or comparability over time, provide a breakdown of the direct (Scope 1) GHG emissions by:

2.2.5.1 business unit or facility;

2.2.5.2 country;

2.2.5.3 type of source (stationary combustion, process, fugitive);

2.2.5.4 type of activity.”

 

“Energy indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions

Reporting requirements

The reporting organization shall report the following information:

  1. Gross location-based energy indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions in metric tons of CO2
  2. If applicable, gross market-based energy indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions in metric tons of CO2
  3. If available, the gases included in the calculation; whether CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6, NF3, or all.
  4. Base year for the calculation, if applicable, including:
  5. the rationale for choosing it;
  6. emissions in the base year;

iii. The context for any significant changes in emissions that triggered recalculations of base year emissions.”

  1. Source of the emission factors and the global warming potential (GWP) rates used, or a reference to the GWP source.
  2. Consolidation approach for emissions; whether equity share, financial control, or operational control.
  3. Standards, methodologies, assumptions, and/or calculation tools used.

Reporting recommendations

2.4 When compiling the information specified in Disclosure 305-2, the reporting organization should:

2.4.1 apply emission factors and GWP rates consistently for the data disclosed;

2.4.2 use the GWP rates from the IPCC assessment reports based on a 100-year timeframe;

2.4.3 select a consistent approach for consolidating direct (Scope 1) and energy indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions, choosing from the equity share, financial control, or operational control methods outlined in the ‘GHG Protocol Corporate Standard’;

2.4.4 if subject to different standards and methodologies, describe the approach to selecting them;

2.4.5 where it aids transparency or comparability over time, provide a breakdown of the energy indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions by:

2.4.5.1 business unit or facility;

2.4.5.2 country;

2.4.5.3 type of activity.”

“Other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions

Reporting requirements

The reporting organization shall report the following information:

  1. Gross other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions in metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
  2. If available, the gases included in the calculation; whether CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6, NF3, or all.
  3. Biogenic CO2 emissions in metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
  4. Other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions categories and activities included in the calculation.
  5. Base year for the calculation, if applicable, including:
  6. the rationale for choosing it;
  7. emission in the base year;

iii. the context for any significant changes in emissions that triggered recalculations of base year emissions.

  1. Source of the emission factors and the global warming potential (GWP) rates used, or a reference to the GWP source.
  2. Standards, methodologies, assumptions, and/or calculation tools used.”

Reporting recommendations

2.6 When compiling the information specified in Disclosure 305-3, the reporting organization should:

2.6.1 apply emission factors and GWP rates consistently for the data disclosed;

2.6.2 use the GWP rates from the IPCC assessment reports based on a 100-year timeframe;

2.6.3 if subject to different standards and methodologies, describe the approach to selecting them;

2.6.4 list other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions, with a breakdown by upstream and downstream categories and activities;

2.6.5 where it aids transparency or comparability over time, provide a breakdown of the other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions by:

2.6.5.1 business unit or facility;

2.6.5.2 country;

2.6.5.3 type of source;

2.6.5.4 type of activity.”

“Other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions

Reporting requirements

The reporting organization shall report the following information:

  1. Gross other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions in metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
  2. If available, the gases included in the calculation; whether CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6, NF3, or all.
  3. Biogenic CO2 emissions in metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
  4. Other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions categories and activities included in the calculation.
  5. Base year for the calculation, if applicable, including:
  6. the rationale for choosing it;
  7. emission in the base year;

iii. the context for any significant changes in emissions that triggered       recalculations of base year emissions.

  1. Source of the emission factors and the global warming potential (GWP) rates used, or a reference to the GWP source.
  2. Standards, methodologies, assumptions, and/or calculation tools used.”

Reporting recommendations

2.6 When compiling the information specified in Disclosure 305-3, the reporting organization should:

2.6.1 apply emission factors and GWP rates consistently for the data disclosed;

2.6.2 use the GWP rates from the IPCC assessment reports based on a 100-year timeframe;

2.6.3 if subject to different standards and methodologies, describe the approach to selecting them;

2.6.4 list other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions, with a breakdown by upstream and downstream categories and activities;

2.6.5 where it aids transparency or comparability over time, provide a breakdown of the other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions by:

2.6.5.1 business unit or facility;

2.6.5.2 country;

2.6.5.3 type of source;

2.6.5.4 type of activity.”

The GRI G4 Financial Services Sector Disclosures makes recommendations regarding reporting in line with Principle 5:

“Monetary value of products and services designed to deliver a specific environmental benefit for each business line broken down by purpose

Report the following:

·         The total monetary value of specific environmental products and services by business line; and

·         The proportion of this value to the total value of products and services for the business line.”

“Coverage and frequency of audits to assess implementation of environmental and social policies and risk assessment procedures (former FS9)

Report the following for each business line:

·         Whether the organization has implemented auditing systems for its environmental and social risk assessment policies;

·         Any exclusions or limitations to the audit coverage of regions or products and services;

·         Whether the audit(s) was carried out using internal/external audit(s);

·         The names of any standards utilized for the audit; and

·         Follow-up actions (if any) to overall findings of the audit(s).”

“Percentage and number of companies held in the institution’s portfolio with which the reporting organization has interacted on environmental or social issues

Report separately the percentage and number of companies held in the institution’s portfolio with which the reporting organization has engaged on environmental or social issues.

Please note: The reporting organization should also report the total number of companies in the portfolio if this is unclear for the reader or difficult to calculate from the presented information.”

“Percentage of assets subject to positive and negative environmental or social screening

Report the breakdown of the value of total assets under management at the end of the reporting period in terms of:

·         % of total assets subject to a positive environmental and/or social screen

·         % of total assets subject to a negative environmental and/or social screen

·         % of total assets subject to a combined positive and negative environmental and/or social screen

·         Include definition of the criteria used by the organization’s positive and negative screening. The organization should state if any of the screens are required by law.”