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New Sustainability Reporting Guidelines Call for Focus on Materiality

Louis M. Thompson | July 2, 2013

The Global Reporting Initiative—the non-profit organization that has developed the de facto set of standards for sustainability reporting—recently rolled out the next generation of reporting guidelines, known as G4. The guidelines, while voluntary, serve as a roadmap for any company that is serious about giving investors and the public more information about its sustainability efforts and details on its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices.

The new standards, unveiled at a May GRI conference in Amsterdam, call for new measures of materiality for what gets disclosed and less fluff. In other words the GRI is asking companies to say what they are really doing and dispense with glossy, four-color reports full of soft, feel-good information designed to make investors more comfortable with the company's social responsibility efforts and enhance its...

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