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GRI Tool Enables Greater Corporate Transparency on Human Rights

Image Credit: Wikimedia

GRI, developer of one of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting standards, has launched its latest Linkage Document at the Fourth United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights.

Linking G4 and the UN Guiding Principles highlights the connections between the GRI G4 Reporting Guidelines (G4) and key concepts of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These include due diligence, grievance mechanisms and impact assessments — undertaken both for operations and suppliers — which are also recurring concepts throughout G4.

The new Linkage Document gives stakeholders an understanding of the existing opportunities and further potential for companies to integrate and adhere to the Guiding Principles when using G4, GRI says.

The Guiding Principles recognize the importance of corporate transparency and were adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly in 2011. For the first time, the roles of both the government and the private sector regarding human rights impacts were clarified. They articulate that nation states have the duty to protect human rights while the private sector has the corporate responsibility to respect these. Should human rights violations occur, both actors are accountable to ensure that access to remedy is provided to the victims.

Corporate reporting that combines the use of international principles on specific issues such as the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and globally accepted sustainability reporting standards on a wide range of non-financial issues such as GRI Standards is fundamental to creating the transparency needed to enable better decision making by governments, businesses and other stakeholders, GRI says.

In September, GRI, the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched a new tool to help companies navigate and contribute to a new set of global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recently adopted by the United Nations. The SDG Compass is a guide that companies can use to align their strategies with the relevant SDGs, and measure and manage their impacts. It is supported by a live and constantly updated inventory of business indicators and tools.

Earlier this year, GRI released a report that said future improvements in information technology will lead to greater transparency, with sustainability reporting moving fully into the digital realm and occurring in real-time instead of annually.

Based in San Francisco, Mike Hower is a sustainability strategist and storyteller on Edelman's Business + Social Purpose team where he works with some of the world's leading brands on corporate sustainability strategy and stakeholder engagement. With several years of… [Read more about Mike Hower]

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