Guest Post - Producing a GRI G4 CSR Report: The First 5 Steps
By Kyla Grant, Emotive Brand
So, you’re thinking about your company’s next sustainability report, or possibly producing your first one, and you want to make the move to Global Reporting Initiative’s newest standard: G4. Where do you start? What does it take? The following are the first 5 steps I recommend, based on my experience managing UPS’s latest corporate sustainability report (the first Comprehensive report in the U.S., launching July 30) and working on another company’s report at the Core level.
1. Get C-suite Buy-in
Don’t even think about pursuing GRI G4 unless your leadership has bought into it. Why? Because G4 is hard. It takes an enormous amount of time and effort – more than what G3 entails – and leadership needs to agree that G4 is a strategic initiative that they will invest in. Not only will the team producing the report be putting in extra hours, but additional departments such as Human Resources, Legal, Finance, Communications, Engineering, and others will need to make room on their plates to support the initiative. With this many departments in the mix, it’s vital to have leadership on your side when there’s pushback, and I can promise you, there will be pushback. GRI G4 goes so much further than its prior iteration in requiring information on governance and remuneration. For example, the G4-54 indicator requires the disclosure of the ratio of the highest paid person’s salary (most likely the CEO) to that of your workforce. For many companies out there, just thinking about putting that type of information in the public domain is beyond scary, it’s downright catastrophic. So how do you get past that? The answer lies in the support of your leadership.
2. Conduct a Materiality Analysis
Once your leadership has decided they are invested in moving toward G4, the next thing to do is conduct an exercise to determine which issues are most material to your company. By the way, conducting a materiality analysis is just one of G4’s requirements. Based on my experiences, I would strongly recommend that a neutral, third party be engaged to do this because it requires a significant amount of research, time, and expertise.
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