GRI Content Index Template

GRI launched its Mining & Metals Sector Supplement (MMSS) in March 2010. More recently, GRI also published a standard GRI Index template. Does such a template add value to reporters in the mining sector?

The Index covers all the standard disclosure options: Profile Disclosure; Organizational Profile; Governance, Commitments, and Engagement; Disclosures on Management Approach (DMAs); and Performance Indicators (Economic, Environment, Social). The template highlights changes/additions related to sector specific issues in red. I have also highlighted the disclosure requirements for entry-level (or ‘C-Level’) reports in yellow and attached the template for GRI MMSS here: GRI MMSS Index.

For some comments about the MMSS and related sector specific indicators, please visit one of my older blog entries: Convergence of GRI and IFC Performance Standards? The full MMSS sector guidelines can be downloaded here.

But why use a GRI Index? Report producer can use the GRI Index as a tool to ensure they have covered the elements needed to match their preferred/declared Application Level (A, B o C and “+”). The Index can also be used to refer the reader to other information already disclosed in other places (Annual Reports or specific sections of a company’s website etc) and cut down on duplication. Also, the tool can serve as a vehicle to provide short notes explaining why certain elements/data has been omitted and/or commit to expanded reporting in the future.  A standard GRI Index is also important to report users, such as CSR analysts or consultants providing Third Party Checks or Assurance services. These groups tend to use the GRI Index as a user-friendly navigation tool. Also, adding a GRI Index and an Application Level declaration ensures that your report will be added to the GRI’s ‘master list’ of sustainability reports which follow the GRI framework.

Finally, it may be worth pointing out that a GRI Index (which can be 5-10+ pages long) can - but does not have to - be part of sustainability report. Reporters who prefer to produce concise reports (and let me say to them: bless your hearts!) and those who like to save trees/printing costs tend to publish their GRI Index on the web.

How do you/your organization derive value from producing a GRI Index? Will you be using GRI’s sector specific GRI Index template?  Would you prefer that the GRI Index be made part of the sustainability repot, be posted on the web or be only available upon request?