BrownFlynn is pleased to announce the release of its newest whitepaper entitled: “GRI Application Levels: Why Strive for an A?”
BrownFlynn partnered with CSRHUB to assess the relationship between a company’s Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Application Level and score on sustainability ratings and rankings. CSRHUB aggregates and normalizes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) ratings information from more than 140 sources on nearly 5,000 companies across the globe.
The study demonstrates why companies with a higher Application Level are better able to manage their sustainability impacts, and provides evidence of a correlation between a company’s GRI Application Level and its reputation for sustainability performance. The study also clarifies the confusion around differences between Application Levels.
In short, the study finds that companies reporting at level A or B receive higher sustainability ratings than other GRI reporters—especially on governance ratings.In addition to providing the data to show that companies reporting at an Application Level B or higher score better on other sustainability rankings (shown above), this study gives bite-sized summaries of the key differences between the Application Levels, synthesized into manageable chunks.
Because GRI does not have a minimum quality requirement for profile disclosures from a company, it can be construed that GRI places less importance on report quality and only values transparency. This is not the case. GRI subtly influences report quality through the specificity of the required disclosures and more overtly manages report quality by requiring disclosures about the report itself. These are called ‘Profile Disclosures’, and they provide information about a company’s overall structure, internal controls and info about the report itself.
The Profile Disclosures that ask questions about the report itself serve as a quality standard assessment. Further, to increase transparency, GRI requires companies to declare an Application Level. To increase quality, GRI requires companies to disclose its processes for determining materiality and for engaging with stakeholders.
Overall, companies with an Application Level A or B are able to demonstrate more comprehensive sustainability management strategies, as well as receive higher sustainability ratings than other GRI reporters. So, should you strive for an A? That will always depend upon where your company is in its sustainability journey. But what we will say is that the internal discussions prompted during pursuit of an Application Level A or B will likely improve governance, attention to key impacts, sustainability policies, procedures, training strategy, goals, internal controls and ultimately sustainability performance.
To read the entire whitepaper please click here. Feel free to contact Cora Lee Mooney with questions/comments or for more information.
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Statement from the most senior decision-maker of the organization about relevance of sustainability to the organization and the organization’s strategy for addressing sustainability
Name of the organization
Primary brands, products, and services
Location of organization’s headquarters
Number of countries where the organization operates, and names of countries with significant operations or that are specifically relevant to the sustainability topics covered in the report
Nature of ownership and legal form
Scale of the reporting organization
Total workforce by employment type, employment contract, and region, broken down by gender
Percentage of total employees covered by collective bargaining agreements
Description of the organization’s supply chain
Significant changes during the reporting period regarding organization's size, structure, ownership, or supply chain
Whether and how the precautionary approach or principle is addressed by the organization
Externally developed economic, environmental, and social charters, principles, or other initiatives to which the organization subscribes or endorses
Memberships in associations and/or national/international advocacy organizations
Entities included in the organization consolidated financial and nonfinancial reports
Process for defining report content
Material aspects identified in the process for defining report content
For each material aspect, the aspect boundary within the organization
For each material aspect, the aspect boundary outside the organization
Explanation of the effect of and reasons for any restatements of information provided in earlier reports
Significant changes from previous reporting periods in the scope and aspect boundaries
List of stakeholder groups engaged by the organization
The basis for identification and selection of stakeholders with whom to engage
The organization’s approach to stakeholder engagement, including frequency of engagement by type and by stakeholder group, and an indication of whether any of the engagement was undertaken specifically as part of the report preparation process
Key topics and concerns that have been raised through stakeholder engagement, and how the organization has responded to those key topics and concerns, including through its reporting. Report the stakeholder groups that raised each of the key topics and concerns
Date of most recent previous report
Contact point for questions regarding the report or its contents
‘In accordance’ option and GRI Content Index
Policy and current practice with regard to seeking external assurance for the report
Governance structure of organization, including committees of the highest governance body
The organization’s values, principles, standards, and norms of behavior such as codes of conduct and codes of ethics
Disclosure on Management Approach for Aspect
Coverage of the organization’s defined benefit plan obligations.
Financial assistance received from government.
Significant indirect economic impacts, including the extent of impacts.
Total number and rates of new employee hires and employee turnover by age group, gender and region.
Average hours of training per year per employee, by gender and by employee category.
Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews, by gender and by employee category.