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. 

GRI NGO Level C reporting template + tips (xls)

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 with ‘Subscribe NGO’ in the subject line. 

Press Release: GRI NGO Sector Supplement Launched

Global Reporting Initiative

GRI NGO Sector Supplement launched

Dear GRI NGO Network,

GRI is proud to announce that the NGO Sector Supplement has been finalized and is now available for free downloading on the GRI website.


The Supplement was successfully launched last Thursday 27 May 2010 at the GRI Amsterdam Global Conference on Sustainability and Transparency. In this session, representatives from Oxfam International, Center for Human Rights and Environment and former Secretary General at Amnesty International discussed different views on what NGOs should report and what the future will bring for reporting NGOs. The launch can be viewed on YouTube.

On the GRI NGO Sector Supplement webpage you will also find a toolkit for NGO reporters, which contains different materials: the Supplement, an introduction, examples of GRI reports by NGOs and a Level C template for NGOs. The Level C reporting template contains reporting tips developed by the Working Group aiming to make reporting simpler for smaller NGOs and first time NGO reporters.

GRI would like to thank all those who participated in the development process. We invite you to continue participating in this Network by discussing the content and use of the Supplement with others from the sector on LinkedIn. You can join the GRI NGO Network on LinkedIn and start discussing the final Supplement today!

I am looking forward to meeting you on LinkedIn and reading your contributions there.

Kind regards, 


Maaike Fleur

GRI Sector Supplement Manager 

User login

Forgot password?