A Look at GRI Application Level Declaration Statistics

A concern of many first-time reporters seems to be their approach to GRI Application Level Declaration. How many reporters do you think declared A-level, B-Level and C-Level? And what is your guess how many skipped the GRI Application Declaration altogether?

GRI requires that reporters following its G3 (Third Generation) sustainability reporting framework should declare a so called GRI Application Level. These are designated A, B or C with a “+” if part/all the report/data was also externally assured (the latter a hotly debated topic and not be be confused with GRI Check/Third Party Check - and not addressed in this blog entry).

The Application Levels reflect the degree of coverage of the GRI reporting framework, such as approach to management discussion and analysis, and number of Performance Indicators reported on. Passing the midyear mark for 2010 and expecting that most 2009 sustainability reports have been published by now, it may be a good time to review the approach taken by reporters to address the – at times - dreaded question of declaring a GRI Application Level. Querying GRI’s 2009 Report List (dated 30 June 2010), I produced the attached bar chart (2009 GRI Application Level Stats 4 July 2010), a summary of which is also provided below. 

From 1,379 reporters recorded by GRI by the end of June 2010, 29% are listed in the A/A+ Application Level category, followed by 25% in B/B+ Application Level, and 21% in the C/C+ Application Level. You may also be surprised to read that 25% are listed in the Undeclared category.

Are you surprised about these statistics? What do you think is driving the large undeclared segment which make up a full quarter of all reports? And what is your recommendation for an appropriate GRI Application Level for a first-time reporter?

Mehrdad Nazari, Senior CSR, GRI & ESIA Advisor, PRIZMA, https://prizmablog.com and www.prizmasolutions.com