Everything You Need To Know About GRI Standards

July 2, 2021


At the end of July 2021, the chance to share your opinion on exposure drafts of a couple of sector standard projects from the GRI - agriculture, aquaculture, and fishing, and coal will come to an end.

The GRI Sector Program, approved by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB,) aims to improve consistency and clarity in corporate sustainability reporting. Work has already begun to develop GRI Sector Standards for 40 to 45 high-impact industries and sectors, facilitating accelerated and integrated disclosure.

But what exactly is GRI, and what best practices can your corporation embed into your sustainability reporting now to provide more meaningful, transparent, and accessible decarbonization data to your investors, shareholders, and the wider public?

In this article, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions management experts at SINAI define GRI and offer guidance on how your company can improve its sustainability reporting practices by gaining a clear understanding of GRI reporting metrics.

What are GRI standards?

The Global Reporting Intiative (GRI) standards provide a common and consistent language for corporations to use when reporting on the impact of their sustainability efforts that’s trusted and adds value. The GRI standards aren’t just for large firms. Small and medium-sized businesses, whether a private or public entity, can benefit significantly from incorporating GSI standard metrics. GSI standards have enhanced comparability across the globe and have allowed firms to strengthen their accountability and transparency when it comes to sustainability reporting requirements.

Companies can meet the needs of various stakeholders with ease by incorporating the standards, gaining a better understanding of their decarbonization efforts and finding the best way to disclose their sustainability impact.

Designed as a user-friendly modular set, the GSI standards offer a collection of universal standards as a starting point for firms. There are three main modules, called the GRI’s 100 series. The GRI 100 series can be applied to any company, large or small, that is preparing a sustainability report:

  • GRI Standards 101: Foundation
  • GRI Standards 102: General Disclosures
  • GRI Standards 103: Management Approach

The 100 series is followed by a suite of topic standards based on your company’s material topics, whether economic, environmental, or social. The standards are designed in this way to provide a comprehensive picture of your material topics, each of their related impacts, and how your firm manages them within your sustainability report.

What benefits can your firm expect from GSI standards reporting?

GRI reporting is about disclosing sustainability data in a standard, set way, so that information relating to your firm’s economic, environmental, and social performance can be easily digested and compared. By taking a systematic approach to your sustainability reporting, your company can reap the following benefits:

  1. Enhanced sustainability performance
  2. A way to benchmark sustainability performance against self and others
  3. Improved sustainability strategy with consistent performance targets and indicators
  4. Better risk mitigation and management
  5. Improved stakeholder, investor, and staff relations

The GRI Sector Program

The GRI Sector standards have been created to help identify an industry or sector's most significant sustainability impacts and highlight stakeholder expectations when it comes to sustainability reporting.

The GRI’s sector-specific standards outline the sustainability context for your sector, and outline topics that are likely material for your firm in your industry, based on the industry’s most significant impacts. They list relevant disclosures for your sector to report on.

The first Sector Standard is set for release in the second half of 2021 and was developed using the knowledge and expertise of multiple stakeholders in the specific industry it covers.

Sustainability reporting practices your company can adopt today

To help your firm more effectively report your most significant impacts on the economy, environment and people, focus on the GRI reporting metrics of materiality, governance disclosures, and explore your relevant sector perspective.  


Your company’s sustainability report should reflect the impacts and actions of the company throughout its activities, focusing on the most significant effects on the economy, environment, and people, including impacts on human rights. This should reflect a move away from plotting your firm’s sustainability topics according to the importance of the company’s topics compared to key stakeholders.

Governance Disclosures

A clear trend of investor interest has emerged, and demand towards more structured governance disclosures is gaining traction within many corporations.

Sector Perspective

Firms are encouraged to use topic standards alongside sector standards as they become available and more drafts open for public comment this year. Sector standards aim to complete and complement the existing GRI standards, supporting firms within industries to better understand which topics to include in their materiality assessment. Sector standards will also link with other frameworks and initiatives, building on the innovative work already done by certain sectors in this space.

Straightforward emissions data monitoring  

SINAI has developed cutting-edge software that makes it easy for your firm to consolidate and organize data from numerous sources in order to consistently report while making data-driven business decisions.

Set your company apart from the rest by going beyond capturing emissions inventories and reporting with the dynamic scenario assessment tool, including a marginal abatement cost curve and carbon pricing modules. Our software solution benefits firms looking to take the deep decarbonization lead in their sector, whether within utilities, transportation, materials, consumer goods, or real estate.

Reporting is made more accessible and more meaningful by including your financial team, and our software solution offers intelligent data integration for next-generation risk management. This can help your corporation bring your carbon strategy directly into your business model. Contact us for a demo of our software today.

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