GRI Standards For Sustainability Reporting And Its Impact On Organizations

Introduction to GRI Standards

The report deals with the standard which have been introduced in order to ensure that sustainability is maintained.  GRI standards are the first global sustainability reporting standards introduced. The main purpose of the standard is to report on the sustainability based on best practices of economical, environmental and social benefits (Marimon et al. 2012). With the introduction of the new standards on sustainability, it is expected to bring about improvement in the overall reporting practices (Planken 2013).

As per GRI Standard, an organization shall report on the following information which are relates to different risks which are posed by climatic changes and such risks have the potential to impact the operations, expenditures and revenue of the organization which includes:

  • Description of risks or opportunities and classification as either physical, regulatory
  • The company must report on the impacts of the risks or opportunities which affect the business.
  • Financial implications of the risks or opportunities before actions are taken.
  • The methods which are used to manage risks or opportunities.
  • The costs which are related with the actions taken to manage the risks or opportunities.

The company also needs to report on the plans and time line in which the management plans to develop a system to measure financial implications and costs, if such a cost or implications system is not present (Toppinen et al. 2012).

As per the case study of Timberwell, due to the warming effect of the climate and increased risk of bushfire the company has to develop Local Environmental Plan (LEP). The company needs rezone specific areas as bushfire prone zone. The company needs to incorporate measures such as larger distance between buildings and also large boundaries and the use of fire retardant building materials.

GRI Standard deals with the topic Anti-corruption and their disclosure requirements in the organization. As per the standard the company needs to include the following points in the disclosure of the company:

  • The total number and nature of confirmed incidents of corruption
  • Total number of incidents where against guilty employees disciplinary measures were taken or where they were dismissed.
  • Total number of incidents where contracts with business partners were terminated due to activities which are related to corruption.
  • Public legal cases which the company is facing regarding corruption charges brought against employees and also includes results or outcomes of the cases (Fernandez-Feijoo, Romero and Ruiz 2014).

As per the case study given in the assignment about Timberwell Construction, the employee Dennis complained to the State Corruption Commission about a public corruption scandal where five Timberwell Construction and two partners offered brides to project officers in order to get development projects for the company. The disciplinary actions which was adopted by the company included suspension of the five employee who were involved in the corruption charges. The employee were suspended without pay while the company awaited the pending results of the charges as per the State Corruption Commission. The company also terminated the contracts which it had with the two external consultants or partners.

This standard deal with the legal actions due to anti-competitive behavior, anti-trust and monopolistic practices (Fonseca, McAllister and Fitzpatrick 2014). The following disclosures which are required by the standard are stated below:

  • Number of legal actions which are pending or completed where the company has been identified as anti-competitive or affecting anti-trust or in any way monopolistic in nature.
  • The major outcomes which has arrived on legal cases including the measures suggested and decisions taken.

As per the case study, Dennis complained to a number of Governmental organizations that the company Timberwell Constructions were engaged in anti-competitive activities. The company was accused of misusing its market power and engaging in exclusive dealings. As per Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the company had engaged in activities which could prevent a new entrant from entering the market and thus reduce the overall competition in the market. The case was filed in a federal court and the hearing will be taking place in four months period.

The Purpose of GRI Standards

The standard deals with the energy consumption within the organization (Junior, Best and Cotter 2014). As per the standard a company needs to the following disclosures as per this standard:

  • The total fuel consumption in the organization from non-renewable sources and including which type of fuel is used.
  • The total fuel consumptions in the organization from renewable sources of energy.
  • Total energy consumption in the organization
  • Assumptions and methodology or calculation tools used for the computation or measuring process.
  • The various source of conversion factors.

As per the case study of Timberwell, a media release shows that the company is an energy efficient organization and the company keeps energy consumption from non-renewable sources of energy to minimum utilization. The media release also states that Timberwell has implemented fuel consumption system which utilizes renewable sources of energy to at least 50% within the next 3 years.

The standards deals with significant impacts of activities, products and services on biodiversity. As per the standard, the organization must report on the following information:

  • Nature of impacts on biodiversity which may be direct or indirect which can be in relation to construction, pollution, introduction of pests or pathogens, habitat conversion and other similar factors.
  • Significant positive and negative impacts in relation to species affected, extent of areas affected, duration of impacts and reversibility or irreversibility of the impacts.

As per the case study, Timberwell Construction in order to depict that the company is good corporate citizen. An environmental impact assessment was conducted on the company’s Otford Park development site where it was discovered that the site was populated with a rare species of wallum sedge frog. If the site is used for the construction purposes then it would lead to the disruption of the habitat of frogs. Therefore in order to counter this Timberwell Construction along with other environmental organizations is trying tot develop strategies which will develop the area as well as conserve the habitat of frogs.

The standard deals with the non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations. As per the standard the following disclosures are required which are given below:

  • The company should report significant fines and non-monetary sanctions in relation to environmental laws and regulations (Wilburn and Wilburn 2013).
  • If the organization is not in compliance with environmental laws and regulations, the same should be reported.

As per the case study, Dennis an employee of Timberwell Construction lodged a complaint with Department of Environment and Energy. Due to this Timberwell company was fined 4 200000 as the company had cleared around 0.45 hectares of critically endangered coastal grasslands. Additionally, the company was ordered to formulate a strategic plan to conserve the natural vegetation of the surrounding area. Moreover, the company was required to incorporate a rehabilitation plan for the area cleared which will cost the company at least $440000.

The standard deals with new employee hire and employee turnover. As per the standard the following disclosures are required by the organization:

  • The total number and rate of new employees which are hired during the period on the basis of age group, gender and region.
  • The company also needs to report on the total number and rate of employee turnover which has taken place during the year on the basis age, gender and region (Alonso?Almeida, Llach and Marimon 2014).

As per the case study given, Timberwell Constructions has 58 male staffs which are from the region where the company operates. The company has been facing employee turnover issues where 17 employees of the company left. The company in order to counter this hired 12 new employees and also incorporated a strategic plan to retain the existing employees of the company which included higher worker’s pay rates, a monthly roster to allow a day off to workers on a systematic basis.

Organizational Reporting Requirements as per GRI Standards

The standard deals with non-discrimination in work place. The company should include the following disclosures in relation to this standard:

  • The company should report any discrimination occurrence on any grounds at workplace
  • The remedial actions which was taken by the management for discrimination (Epstein and Buhovac 2014).

As per the case study, Dennis an employee of Timberwell Construction has filed a complaint with Fair Work Commission that he was harass at workplace. As per Dennis, he was discriminated on the basis of his age as he was the only one above 50 years of age.  Timberwell Constructions were ordered by the Commission to pay a compensation of $ 4400 to Dennis and also incorporate anti-discrimination policies and provide anti-discrimination training to the employees to prevent such a situation from occurring again.

The standard deals with operations with local community engagement, impact assessment and development programs (Prno and Slocombe 2012). The following disclosures are required to be made by the company under this standard:

  • The impact of the activities of the business on the local community as a whole whether it is positive or negative in nature.
  • Measures taken by the organization in case such impacts are negative in nature.

As per the case study, Timberwell Construction is trying to prove to the society that the company is a good corporate citizen for which it has engaged in expenses which will develop local communities and also proposed development plans for residential areas. The activities include Environmental Impact Assessment, local resident meetings and local community development programs which includes affordable housing solutions.


Alonso?Almeida, M., Llach, J. and Marimon, F., 2014. A closer look at the ‘Global Reporting Initiative’sustainability reporting as a tool to implement environmental and social policies: A worldwide sector analysis. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 21(6), pp.318-335.

Epstein, M.J. and Buhovac, A.R., 2014. Making sustainability work: Best practices in managing and measuring corporate social, environmental, and economic impacts. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Fernandez-Feijoo, B., Romero, S. and Ruiz, S., 2014. Commitment to corporate social responsibility measured through global reporting initiative reporting: Factors affecting the behavior of companies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 81, pp.244-254.

Fonseca, A., McAllister, M.L. and Fitzpatrick, P., 2014. Sustainability reporting among mining corporations: a constructive critique of the GRI approach. Journal of Cleaner Production, 84, pp.70-83.

Junior, R.M., Best, P.J. and Cotter, J., 2014. Sustainability reporting and assurance: A historical analysis on a world-wide phenomenon. Journal of Business Ethics, 120(1), pp.1-11.

Marimon, F., del Mar Alonso-Almeida, M., del Pilar Rodríguez, M. and Alejandro, K.A.C., 2012. The worldwide diffusion of the global reporting initiative: what is the point?. Journal of Cleaner Production, 33, pp.132-144.

Planken, B., 2013. Global Reporting Initiative. In Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility (pp. 1254-1256). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Prno, J. and Slocombe, D.S., 2012. Exploring the origins of ‘social license to operate’in the mining sector: Perspectives from governance and sustainability theories. Resources Policy, 37(3), pp.346-357.

Toppinen, A., Li, N., Tuppura, A. and Xiong, Y., 2012. Corporate responsibility and strategic groups in the forest?based industry: Exploratory analysis based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 19(4), pp.191-205.

Wilburn, K. and Wilburn, R., 2013. Using global reporting initiative indicators for CSR programs. Journal of Global responsibility, 4(1), pp.62-75.

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