Earlier this week, BrownFlynn hosted its first GRI-Certified G4 Bridging Module at Tower City Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Our participants included representatives from Fortune 100 and S&P 500 companies who had previously received our training on the G3/3.1 Guidelines. Since GRI first released the G4 Guidelines in May, BrownFlynn has developed comprehensive training materials to clearly communicate changes in the framework to a GRI-experienced audience. In anticipation of the G4 framework, our trainees cited the new reporting levels and the enhanced focus on materiality as their primary concerns.
The new reporting levels of Core and Comprehensive represent perhaps the most noticeable change in G4, and therefore may be the first modifications reported to senior management or around an organization. CEOs and Boards of Directors have grown accustomed to striving for an A or A+ level report in order to impress stakeholders with transparency efforts. Removing the grade format is a positive development, but it may present sustainability leaders with the challenge of rephrasing goals and expectations. For example, if an organization has set a long-term goal to achieve an A, adopting G4 will require envisioning this goal using different terminology. We emphasize that GRI’s new standards for reporting levels constitute a clarified model of GRI as a management tool. Both Core and Comprehensive reporters will be able to demonstrate adherence to the G4 framework in a way that clearly communicates their efforts around environmental, social and governance issues. More importantly, reporters will enjoy greater differentiation from organizations that simply cite some of the Standard Disclosures rather than preparing a report in full accordance with G4.
In addition to shifting terminology, G4 represents a transformation in how organizations will need to approach materiality. After reviewing the updated boundary expectations, our trainees expressed concern about the new requirements for measuring impacts both inside and outside of their organizations. While we recognize that reporters may feel overwhelmed, the new standards actually decrease extraneous data collection and increase understanding of material issues for an organization. Achieving a deeper and more meaningful comprehension of material impacts may feel like an intensive process initially, but an organization will reap the benefits of this process ten-fold as it develops its future goals and strengthens its relationships with stakeholders. Simply put, G4 eliminates immaterial work and adds focus to the sustainability management process.
BrownFlynn looks forward to presenting another GRI-Certified G4 Bridging Module on October 3rd in Cleveland, OH. We will also be offering GRI-Certified Course: The GRI Process on September 12th &13th at AIAG in Detroit, MI and on September 23rd & 24th at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, PA. Training attendees for each of these courses will receive a G4 Certificate. Please visit our website for additional information.
Terminal Tower, 36th floor
50 Public Square
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 303 6000 Map It Email Us
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.