Bridging Corporate Reporting and Due Diligence

GRI calls for risk-based due diligence approach to inform business decisions
Mar 28, 2023 11:05 AM ET
GRI due diligence
Global Reporting Initiative publication on corporate due diligence policies

New analysis published by GRI explores the relationship between due diligence and sustainability reporting, offering insights on the current state-of-play within the global policy landscape.

Corporate sustainability due diligence policies and sustainability reporting draws national and international policies, making the case for harmonization of due diligence rules on a global scale. The paper establishes a clear connection between due diligence and materiality assessment – a key component of corporate reporting – and highlights how GRI reporting unlocks transparency on the due diligence process, in a way that is aligned with international authoritative instruments, including the OECD Guidelines and UN Guiding Principles.

Peter Paul van de Wijs, GRI’s Chief Policy Officer, said:

“There are a growing number of due diligence-related policies around the world, in particular those that set expectations for greater accountability on environmental and social impacts. Organizations must be prepared for this reality. However, there is no widely adopted due diligence disclosure system, making it challenging to track, measure, and compare progress. 

Reporting with the GRI Standards puts impact information on an equal footing with financial reporting and – crucially – addresses impacts throughout the value chain. It also supports companies in aligning their due diligence processes with international expectations, as set by the UN and OECD.”

Key conclusions from the report are:

  • Due diligence policies set expectations for all corporate behavior, not just on human rights: Topics such as tax, procurement and corruption are likely to be included in due diligence rules.
  • Public reporting is necessary for the effective implementation of due diligence: Disclosure needs to cover a broad range of related areas – such as governance, supply chain impacts and operations – signaling why a widely adopted reporting regime is required.
  • Due diligence considerations are having a growing role in financial decision-making: Impacts identified through the due diligence process can be included within enterprise risk management systems, serving as input for identifying financial risks and opportunities.
  • Cross-border implications of due diligence laws require global harmonization: Wide representation and input is needed in policy development, which should ensure alignment with widely adopted standards and international due diligence approaches.
  • Due diligence requires meaningful stakeholder engagement: Achieving credible due diligence outcomes means first identifying and engaging relevant stakeholders, creating an imperative for this information to be public.
  • Due diligence is not possible without supply chain mapping: Effectively assessing potential impacts linked to a company’s products, including use of raw materials, necessitates transparent and traceable supply chains.

The due diligence and human rights-focused approach – the cornerstone of the GRI Universal Standards – will also form the basis for the current revision of labor-related Topic Standards.

Carrots and Sticks, the flagship publication and online resource from GRI, comprehensively covers non-financial and sustainability reporting provisions, policy, regulation, guidance, frameworks, and standards.

Established in 1997, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is the independent, international organization that helping businesses and other organizations take responsibility for their impacts by providing the global common language to report those impacts. The GRI Standards, the leading global standards for sustainability reporting, are provided as a free public good.