The new GRI G4 guidelines have had a difficult birth. Central to the new approach is a greater onus on companies to assess materiality
At its May conference, the Global Reporting Initiative launched the latest iteration of its sustainability reporting framework: G4.
From the tweets of some of the conference attendees, you would think this was an event every bit as exciting as the release of the latest Apple gadget, which would normally see queues of the converted outside the door for hours before launch.
So is G4 the equivalent of the iPhone, which revolutionised its marketplace when it was first revealed to the world? Or perhaps the equivalent of the famously broken Apple maps that attracted criticism and derision in equal measure once people started using it?
For now, opinion is divided, with some genuine fans applauding the changes that have been introduced alongside a louder chorus of criticism than we have been accustomed to.
At a purely mechanical level, a number of changes have been introduced between G3 and G4. The application levels, which enabled companies to put an A+ rating on their report if they met the disclosure requirements – and, to get the “+”, had third party verification – have gone.
Some companies liked them because they looked like a quality mark that some might mistakenly assume meant the company had good performance...