Validation of Environmental and Sustainability Reports according to GRI
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) provides a practical framework for sustainability reporting that can be used by all organizations worldwide, regardless of size, industry or location.
Organizations impact the economy, environment and people through their activities and business relationships. By providing a common global language, the GRI Standards enable organizations to disclose their key impacts on the economy, environment and people, including respect for human rights and due diligence obligations, and how these obligations are embedded in the organization, in a methodical and standardized way.
A sustainability report can serve multiple purposes. It reflects the company‘s individual contributions to social responsibility through facts, figures and indicators on key issues, programs and projects.
GRI provides companies with an explanatory document that they can present to their stakeholders such as customers, investors, business partners and, of course, employees, etc. The reported information is intended to demonstrate how the company is performing and should demonstrate how an organization integrates sustainable development into its business strategy and model.
In addition, the reporting helps to identify, assess and analyze sustainability risks and opportunities related to the organization‘s impacts.
- External independent plausibility check (validation)
- An external view helps to verfiy the selected topics, the plausibility of the data, facts and key figures, and to confirm the accuracy of the statements made
- Potential optimization of the quality of the sustainability report
Basically any organization – company, administrative body or NGO – can write a sustainability report and have it validated, independently from the company size or sector.
The existence of a management system according to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and/or to the EMAS Regulation is advantageous. Environmental Statements according to the EMAS Regulation, business reports or knowledge balances can be integrated in the sustainability report.
There are no compulsory normative requirements placed on the contents of the reports. Therefore, we recommend to use the internationally recognized guideline “Sustainability Reporting Guidelines” of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in the currently valid versions as a basis.
Important criteria for the validation of the report are relevance, completeness and integrity, truth and understandability of the contents of the report, data and indicators.
Steps towards validation
The range of services provided by Quality Austria includes:
- preliminary talk
- review of the draft report
- validation and plausibility check on-site
- test certificate, which will be printed in the report
ISO 9001, EMAS-VO, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 26000, ONR 192500, SR 10