Established international NGOs were well represented at the GRI conference in Amsterdam last week and presumably also in the production of the new NGO Sector Supplement. There is no reason not to see Kabissa members at the grassroots look into and join the GRI process, and also consider integrating sustainability reporting into your own organizational procedures no matter what your size.
In this post I try to provide information about GRI and the NGO Sector Supplement, with links for you to follow if you want to learn more and get involved.
As Kumi Naidoo indicated in his inspiring speech at the conference, we may have only "half a marathon left to run" before it is too late and we make planet Earth uninhabitable for ourselves and our children.
Kumi's message is that we all need to stay engaged on a continuous basis and do our part. What do you think? Please share your feedback here!
About the Global Reporting Initiative
The GRI story is fairly complicated but very much worth understanding, so I will play it safe and quote directly from the About GRI web page:
What is GRI?
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a network-based organization that has pioneered the development of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework and is committed to its continuous improvement and application worldwide.
In order to ensure the highest degree of technical quality, credibility, and relevance, the reporting framework is developed through a consensus-seeking process with participants drawn globally from business, civil society, labor, and professional institutions.
GRI Reporting Framework
This framework sets out the principles and indicators that organizations can use to measure and report their economic, environmental, and social performance.
The cornerstone of the framework is the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The third version of the Guidelines – known as the G3 Guidelines - was published in 2006, and is a free public good.
Other components of the framework include Sector Supplements (unique indicators for industry sectors) and National Annexes (unique country-level information). Click here for an overview of the Reporting Framework.
Benefits of GRI Reporting
Sustainability reports based on the GRI framework can be used to benchmark organizational performance with respect to laws, norms, codes, performance standards and voluntary initiatives; demonstrate organizational commitment to sustainable development; and compare organizational performance over time.
GRI promotes and develops this standardized approach to reporting to stimulate demand for sustainability information – which will benefit reporting organizations and those who use report information alike.
Why produce a Sector Supplement for the NGO Sector?
From the GRI Portal - NGO website:
The rise of the ‘third sector’ has led to an increasing demand for greater accountability from non-profit organizations. Organized civil society has begun to carry out some of the functions traditionally carried out by state; non-profits significantly influence public policy development on an international, national as well as on a local level. Questions on transparency within these entities have been raised and the Non-Profit Sector Supplement project was initiated as a response, to further enhance sustainability reporting practice in the non-profit sector.
The NGO Sector Supplement provides reporting guidance for non-governmental organizations to report on sustainability performance at their organizational level. The Sector Supplement is intended to be generally applicable to all sizes of organizations within the sector. While recognizing that there are considerable variations among types of organizations in this sector, in terms of mission/focus areas (e.g., human rights, development, education, consumer awareness, humanitarian assistance/emergency relief) operations (e.g., advocacy/campaigning, research, fund raising), and orientation (e.g., religious or non-religious, global or local focus) the Sector Supplement is generally intended to capture sustainability impacts associated with organizations in the sector.
Download the GRI NGO reporting template + tips
What I like about the way the GRI Sector Supplement for NGOs is presented is that it provides immediately practical resources that you can download and look at. Take for instance the template and tips available at the GRI Portal - NGO web page which you can click below to download right now and take a look at.
The GRI NGO Level C reporting template was created in order to offer an easy way for smaller NGOs and first time NGOs reporters to prepare a basic GRI sustainability report based on the NGO Sector Supplement.
The template was prepared to show exactly what a basic GRI report should contain and is based on the requirements in the GRI G3 Guidelines for the basic Application Level C.
To complement this tool, the NGO Working Group developed simple reporting tips and recommended a set of indicators for the users of this tool. These tips and recommendations are based on the experiences and inputs of the Working Group members and do not reflect GRI opinion or position on these indicators:
Join the Practitioner’s Network
Discuss the use of the Supplement with report preparers, report readers, investors, academia, consultants and others at the GRI NGO Practitioners’ Network. If you are interested in joining this Practitioners’ Network, please send an email to email@example.com with ‘Subscribe NGO’ in the subject line.
Press Release: GRI NGO Sector Supplement Launched
GRI NGO Sector Supplement launched