Thursday, July 11, 2024

GRI launches linkage service for EU reporting directive

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The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has unveiled its latest initiative today: the GRI-ESRS Linkage Service. This service is designed to assist companies adhering to GRI’s sustainability reporting standards in aligning with the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) that underpin the EU’s Corporate Sustainable Reporting Directive (CSRD). 

GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Standards are widely recognized as global benchmarks for sustainability reporting, fostering consistency and clarity in how companies across various sectors communicate their sustainability performance to stakeholders. In 2021, GRI updated its standards significantly, introducing new standards for climate change, energy reporting, and biodiversity. These standards are developed by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), ensuring they meet evolving global needs for transparent and comprehensive sustainability reporting. 

On the other hand, ESRS, developed by EFRAG and officially adopted by the European Commission in 2023, outlines the guidelines for companies to report on sustainability impacts, opportunities, and risks under the CSRD. With the CSRD now applying to a broader spectrum of companies—from 12,000 to over 50,000—there is an increased emphasis on detailed reporting across environmental, human rights, social standards, and sustainability-related risks. 

The launch of the GRI-ESRS Linkage Service follows last year’s affirmation by GRI and EFRAG of achieving high interoperability between ESRS and GRI Standards. This collaboration extends beyond standards alignment to encompass joint efforts in standards development, training initiatives, and the creation of the GRI-ESRS Interoperability Index. This index serves as a tool to streamline reporting requirements, preventing redundancy for companies disclosing under both frameworks. 

Read also: How GRI reporting is shaping modern business practices

Under this new service, GRI will analyze a company’s GRI content index, providing feedback on specific GRI-ESRS linkages and highlighting areas where disclosures align or diverge. Additionally, GRI will assist in mapping ESRS Topical Areas covered by a company’s material disclosures, offer recommendations on structuring the ESRS sustainability statement, and compile a list of ESRS data points not linked to GRI standards. 

The introduction of the GRI-ESRS Linkage Service marks a pivotal step towards enhancing transparency and coherence in global sustainability reporting. By facilitating seamless alignment between GRI Standards and ESRS requirements, GRI aims to support companies in navigating complex reporting landscapes while reinforcing their commitment to sustainable practices. As companies prepare to meet the expanded reporting obligations under CSRD, tools like the GRI-ESRS Linkage Service will play a crucial role in promoting standardized, impactful sustainability reporting across Europe and beyond. 

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