Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

GRI - global reporting initiative

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) 1454 694 ESG Enterprise ESG Enterprise

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an international, multi-stakeholder, and independent non-profit standards organization that promotes economic, environmental, and social sustainability. It does this by helping businesses, governments, and other organizations understand and communicate their impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights, and corruption. Established in 1997 in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), GRI has developed Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. It provides companies with a broad framework for sustainability reporting that is globally accepted.

Modern business practices have changed. These days many business concerns are under increasing pressure from governments, consumers, and investors to be more transparent about their impact on the environment, economy, and society. They then have to publish a sustainability or corporate social responsibility (CSR) report.

This is where GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) steps in. Its framework for sustainability reporting helps companies to identify, gather and report this information in a clear manner. Multinational organizations, governments, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), NGOs, and industry groups all over the world use the GRI reporting framework.

It has developed the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework that is constantly modified in order to ensure the highest degree of technical quality, credibility, and relevance. This constant update is done via an international multi-stakeholder consensus-seeking process. Participants in the process come from all over the world, and they are often from business, civil society, labor, and professional institutions.

​The GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards (GRI Standards) are the first and most widely adopted global standards for sustainability reporting. Since its inception in 1997, GRI has transformed from a niche practice to a practice adopted by 93% of the world’s largest 250 corporations.

Benefits of GRI (Global Reporting Initiative)

GRI helps businesses and governments all around the world to understand and communicate their impact on critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights, governance, and social well-being. With these actionable insights, social, environmental, and economic benefits can be created for everyone. Since the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards are developed with true multi-stakeholder contributions, they cover several issues and are rooted in the public interest.

​Disclosing sustainability information is a dicey situation that inspires accountability. However, it helps identify and manage risks and enables organizations to seize new opportunities in the long run. This is what reporting with the GRI Standards provides. Companies, public and private, large and small are supported while the environment is protected, and society is improved. At the same time, with improved governance and stakeholder relations, economic interests are assured, reputations are enhanced, and trust is built. The consequence is that issues of social well-being, better jobs, less environmental damage, access to clean water, less child and forced labor, and gender equality are better managed.

GRI-based sustainability reports can be used to benchmark organizational performances with respect to laws, norms, codes, performance standards, and voluntary initiatives. They can also demonstrate organizational commitment to sustainable development and compare organizational performance over time. Global Reporting Initiative promotes and develops this approach to reporting to instigate demand for sustainability information. This benefits reporting organizations and users of report information.


Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may become a reference to monitor the creation of a sustainable economy. This strongly suggests that public and private partnerships will be key to tackling the challenges ahead. It is principally important for companies without a specific sustainable economy model as a reference to define their long-term goals.

The use of two co-existing reporting and disclosure environments will become the order of the day. One of these will be heavily regulated. The other will offer space for the company to handle society’s expectations of transparency and easy access to robust, trustworthy data. The latter environment should be created after consultations with stakeholders.

The integration of financial and sustainability value management (creation and destruction) will trend in GRI. Company reporting will be integrated with that of their suppliers and even peers that are committed to the same regional development goals.

 Reputation and supply chain management will be at the center of the business agenda. Companies will have to ensure that there is a stable supply of products and materials due to environmental and social factors like climate change. They will be able to gain detailed knowledge of their supply chain (stakeholders will too). They will also be in the know about its connection with other sectors and impacts on international and local sustainable development.

Integrated management is the future. Thanks to data technology, companies will be able to operate in an integrated way within and across sectors and regions. They will also be able to monitor their impacts and supply chains while working towards tackling social and corporate challenges.

More innovative metrics will be needed. To make informed business decisions, decision-makers will need to know more about the association between impacts. Using correlated indicators is the only way to achieve this. There will be a need to create and monitor new indicators constantly. This is because the proliferation of intelligent search machines and digital platforms makes choosing business partners difficult. Since disclosures will be integrated into different ways, there will be a need for integrated indicators that will guide decision-makers.

 “Monetization of impacts” and “valuation of externalities” are two terms that will dominate the language of future reporting. Data technology will empower companies, experts, and stakeholders to create methodologies that will employ huge amounts of data to get a more precise assessment of externalities with the potential for monetization. The use of financial value language to express natural and social value in future reporting is to be expected.

GRI’s XBRL taxonomy marks the beginning of a future data tagging solution that improves data access. 

Mandatory reporting rules compel companies to release a report in addition to their real-time data disclosure. The annual format may also be maintained to preserve the storytelling aspect of the reporting and disclosure process.


GRI has and still promotes economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Its proper application can lead to the proper handling of issues like social well-being, better jobs, less environmental damage, access to clean water, less child and forced labor, and gender equality. With the contemporary demand of modern business, GRI is a force that has come to stay.

ESG Enterprise helps companies prepare their GRI reporting with its reporting platform. The platform is an award-winning SaaS application with rich functionality for ESG ratings, reporting, and reputation risk management.

ESG reporting trends data in a paper

Learn How to Start ESG

Simple step-by-step guide to start your ESG journey - ESG internal assessments, ESG Reporting, Data Collections, Climate Risks, Scenario Analysis, and GHG Scope 1, 2, 3


By completing this form, you will have opted-in to marketing emails from apexESG Enterprise.

Check your email for links to download document. Don't forget to check spam box just in case.