Introducing the G4 Guidelines

By revising the reporting process, the G4 aims to focus company decision-makers on the core issues within their organisations, rather than treat reporting as the ‘tick box’exercise that characterised G3 reporting. All reports published after 31 December 2015 are urged to comply with G4 using the following set of guidelines:
The issue of materiality – listing all issues material to a company and linking these issues to the company’s value chain.
General standard disclosures – requiring a description of the company’s value chain, and 10 new governance disclosures, in addition to the G3 general standard disclosures.
Disclosures on management approaches (DMA) – providing DMAs for each material aspect and information on how it is managed and reviewed.
Performance indicators – including greenhouse emission intensity, energy usage in the supply chain/product usage, and significant impacts in the supply chain.
Sector supplements – only reporting on ‘sector-specific’ indicators if they are seen as material to the company.
Assurance – removing the external assurance ‘+ level’. The guidelines now require validation for each individual disclosure and not subsets of disclosures, thus allowing companies to report on issues that are material to them.

In accordance’ scheme

The GRI’s previous A, B and C level compliance ratings have been replaced by a simpler, two-tier ‘in accordance’ scheme:
• Core reporting – aimed at less mature reporters requiring fewer disclosures on material issues
• Comprehensive reporting – aimed at more mature reporters,requiring higher levels of disclosure, similar to the currentG3 Level A

The four quadrants of materiality

The above diagram shows how issues can be mapped for materiality. The y-axis plots stakeholder (ESG) impact for each issue. Companies should report comprehensively on issues that rank high on both scales – their material issues

For more information on the G4 guidelines, how they diverge from the G3 guidelines, and how to implement them, go to

Originally published in the Sustainability Review (Issue 13: August 2013)


2017-12-04T18:39:30+00:00 August 21st, 2013|Sustainability|