The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a leading organization in the sustainability field. GRI promotes the use of sustainability reporting as a way for organizations to become more sustainable and contribute to sustainable development.​ The “Global Reporting Initiative” is a large multi-stakeholder network of thousands of experts, in dozens of countries worldwide, who participate in GRI’s working groups and governance bodies, use the GRI Guidelines to report, access information in GRI-based reports, or contribute to develop the Reporting Framework in other ways – both formally and informally. Meet others in the GRI network, or connect with those in your stakeholder group.

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Barbara Strozzilaan 336 , Amsterdam , 1083 HN Netherlands

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Business Type:
Professional association
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)
Year Founded:
1997

GRI has pioneered and developed a comprehensive Sustainability Reporting Framework that is widely used around the world.

A sustainability report is a report published by a company or organization about the economic, environmental and social impacts caused by its everyday activities.

A sustainability report also presents the organization's values and governance model, and demonstrates the link between its strategy and its commitment to a sustainable global economy.  

GRI's mission is to make sustainability reporting standard practice for all companies and organizations. Its Framework is a reporting system that provides metrics and methods for measuring and reporting sustainability-related impacts and performance.

The Framework – which includes the Reporting Guidelines, Sector Guidance and other resources – enables greater organizational transparency and accountability. This can build stakeholders’ trust in organizations, and lead to many other benefits. Thousands of organizations, of all sizes and sectors, use GRI’s Framework to understand and communicate their sustainability performance.

GRI is an international not-for-profit organization, with a network-based structure. Its activity involves thousands of professionals and organizations from many sectors, constituencies and regions. The Framework is developed collaboratively with their expert input: international working groups, stakeholder engagement, and due process – including Public Comment Periods – help make the Framework suitable and credible for all organizations.
 
GRI's Secretariat is located in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and there are GRI Focal Points – regional offices – in Australia, Brazil, China, India, South Africa, and the USA. More than 600Organizational Stakeholders – core supporters – play a vital part in endorsing GRI's mission.

What is GRI?
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a non-profit organization that works towards a sustainable global economy by providing sustainability reporting guidance.  

An overview of GRI
GRI has pioneered and developed a comprehensive Sustainability Reporting Framework that is widely used around the world. The Framework enables all organizations to measure and report their economic, environmental, social and governance performance – the four key areas of sustainability.

The Reporting Framework – which includes the Reporting Guidelines, Sector Guidelines and other resources - enables greater organizational transparency about economic, environmental, social and governance performance. This transparency and accountability builds stakeholders’ trust in organizations, and can lead to many other benefits. Thousands of organizations, of all sizes and sectors, use GRI’s Framework in order to understand and communicate their sustainability performance.

GRI’s is a multi-stakeholder, network-based organization. Its Secretariat is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Secretariat acts as a hub, coordinating the activity of GRI’s many network partners. GRI has Focal Points – regional offices – in Australia, Brazil, China, India and the USA. Its global network includes more than 600 Organizational Stakeholders – core supporters – and some 30,000 people representing different sectors and constituencies.

GRI also enjoys strategic partnerships with the United Nations Environment Programme, the UN Global Compact, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Organization for Standardization and many others.

GRI’s Guidelines are developed with the expertise of the people in its network. International working groups, stakeholder engagement, and due process – including Public Comment Periods – help make the Guidelines suitable and credible for all organizations.

History

GRI was founded in Boston in 1997. Its roots lie within the US non-profit organizations the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) and the Tellus Institute.

Former CERES Executive Director Dr. Robert Massie, and acting Chief Executive Dr. Allen White, pioneered a framework for environmental reporting as CERES advisors in the early 1990s. To develop the framework, CERES established a ‘Global Reporting Initiative’ project department. 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.

GRI’s inclusive, multi-stakeholder approach was established early, when it was still a department of CERES. In 1998 a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee was established to develop GRI’s guidance. A pivotal mandate of the Steering Committee was to “do more than the environment.” On this advice, the framework’s scope was broadened to include social, economic, and governance issues. GRI’s guidance became a Sustainability Reporting Framework, with Reporting Guidelines at its heart.  

The first version of the Guidelines was launched in 2000. The following year, on the advice of the Steering Committee, CERES separated GRI as an independent institution.

The second generation of Guidelines, known as G2, was unveiled in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. GRI was referenced in the World Summit’s Plan of Implementation. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) embraced GRI and invited UN member states to host it. The Netherlands was chosen as host country.

In 2002 GRI was formally inaugurated as a UNEP collaborating organization in the presence of then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and relocated to Amsterdam as an independent non-profit organization. Ernst Ligteringen was appointed Chief Executive and a member of the Board.

The uptake of GRI’s guidance was boosted by the 2006 launch of the current generation of Guidelines, G3. Over 3,000 experts from across business, civil society and labor participated in G3’s development.

After G3 was launched, GRI expanded its strategy and Reporting Framework, and built powerful alliances. Formal partnerships were entered into with the United Nations Global Compact, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and others. A regional GRI presence was established with Focal Points, initially in Brazil and Australia and later in China, India and the USA. Sector-specific guidance was produced for diverse industries in the form of Sector Supplements (now called Sector Guidelines). Educational and research and development publications were produced, often in collaboration with academic institutions, global centers of excellence and other standard-setting bodies. GRI’s services for its users and network expanded to include coaching and training, software certification, guidance for small and medium sized enterprises in beginning reporting, and certifying completed reports. GRI’s outreach was strengthened by its biannual Amsterdam Conference on Sustainability and Transparency, beginning in 2006; the third conference in May 2010 attracted over 1,200 delegates from 77 countries.

In March 2011, GRI published the G3.1 Guidelines – an update and completion of G3, with expanded guidance on reporting gender, community and human rights-related performance.

G4 is the latest version of GRI's Sustainability Reporting Guidelines – the core document in itsReporting Framework.

GRI was founded in Boston in 1997. Its roots lie in the US non-profit organizations the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) and the Tellus Institute. 

Former CERES Executive Director Dr. Robert Massie, and acting Chief Executive Dr. Allen White, pioneered a framework for environmental reporting as CERES advisors in the early 1990s. To develop the framework, CERES established a ‘Global Reporting Initiative’ project department. 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. 

GRI’s inclusive, multi-stakeholder approach was established early, when it was still a department of CERES. In 1998 a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee was established to develop GRI’s guidance. A pivotal mandate of the Steering Committee was to “do more than the environment.” On this advice, the framework’s scope was broadened to include social, economic, and governance issues. GRI’s guidance became a Sustainability Reporting Framework, with the Reporting Guidelines at its heart.   

The first version of the Guidelines was launched in 2000. The following year, on the advice of the Steering Committee, CERES separated GRI as an independent institution. 

The second generation of Guidelines, known as G2, was unveiled in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. GRI was referenced in the World Summit’s Plan of Implementation. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) embraced GRI and invited UN member states to host it. The Netherlands was chosen as host country. 

In 2002 GRI was formally inaugurated as a UNEP collaborating organization in the presence of then- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and relocated to Amsterdam as an independent non-profit organization. Ernst Ligteringen was appointed Chief Executive and a member of the Board. 

The uptake of GRI’s guidance was boosted by the 2006 launch of the third generation of Guidelines, G3. Over 3,000 experts from business, civil society and the labor movement participated in G3’s development.

After G3 was launched, GRI expanded its strategy and Reporting Framework, and built powerful alliances. Formal partnerships were entered into with the United Nations Global Compact, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and others. A regional GRI presence was enabled by its establishing Focal Points – regional offices – in a number of key territories.

Sector-specific guidance was produced for diverse industries in the form of Sector Supplements (now called Sector Guidelines). Educational and research and development publications were produced, often in collaboration with academic institutions, global centers of excellence and other standard-setting bodies.

GRI’s services for its users expanded to include coaching and training, software certification, 'beginners' reporting guidance for small and medium-sized enterprises, and certifying completed reports. In 2011, GRI published the G3.1 Guidelines – an update and completion of G3, with expanded guidance on reporting gender, community and human rights-related performance.

GRI’s outreach was further strengthened by its biannual Amsterdam Conference on Sustainability and Transparency, beginning in 2006; the fourth conference in May 2013 attracted over 1,500 delegates from 69 countries.  

In May 2013, GRI released the fourth generation of its Guidelines – G4.

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A sustainable global economy should combine long term profitability with ethical behavior, social justice, and environmental care.
 
This means that when companies and organizations consider sustainability – and integrate it into how they operate – they must consider four key areas of their performance and impacts: economic, environmental, social and governance.

GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Framework is a reporting system that enables all companies and organizations to measure, understand and communicate this information. GRI's mission is to make sustainability reporting standard practice; one which helps to promote and manage change towards a sustainable global economy. 
 
Vision and Mission Expand-Collapse

Vision
A sustainable global economy where organizations manage their economic, environmental, social and governance performance and impacts responsibly, and report transparently.

Mission
To make sustainability reporting standard practice by providing guidance and support to organizations.

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

GRI’S Network
Follow the links below to learn more about the role of GRI's Secretariat, governance and advisory bodies, Organizational Stakeholders, and Focal Points.

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

GRI’S Network
Follow the links below to learn more about the role of GRI's Secretariat, governance and advisory bodies, Organizational Stakeholders, and Focal Points.

  • Governance Bodies
  • Secretariat
  • Government Advisory Group
  • Organizational Stakeholders
  • Focal Points