The Global Reporting Initiative, GRI, the UN Global Compact , the Organization for Economic Co-operation Development, OECD, and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, provide the main guidelines for Sustainability or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting.
The GRI Guidelines can be used by any company or organization, large or small and in different sectors. A new version, GRI4 has just been introduced. This aims to be a more user friendly version than the previous GRI3 Guidelines. The new guidelines focus more on material (the most important) issues for that industry.
Global Compact Guidelines
The Global Compact Guidelines build on Ten Principles within the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
OECD adopted its first guidelines for multinational enterprises in 1976. There have been five updates since then, the most recent, in 2011.
United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
In 2010, the UN Secretary General assigned John Ruggie to developed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The document outlines human rights principles for corporations. An increasing number of corporations have started to use these guidelines.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO 26000)
ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, has made a good contribution, consolidating most of the different guidelines into ISO 26000.
Traditionally sustainability and financial reports have been developed separately, and without any connections. The International Integrated Reporting Council, (IIRC) is now developing a framework for integrated reporting in which financial and sustainability
reporting are prepared together.
To be able to do that, corporations must integrate sustainability throughout their operation. Some corporations (Danone, HSBC, Mark & Spencer, Microsoft among other) are starting to integrate their reports. The aim for IIRC is “to develop a framework that communicates businesses’ value creation” to all interested parties.
With internet and social media and with the help of Rio Monte and other organizations these reports are becoming more accessible. The aim is to open new possibilities for everyone- investors, employees, consumers, individuals- to be better informed and to be able to play a more active role in recognizing and requesting ethical business. See further.