Knowledge Of Different Frameworks And Standards For Sustainability Report

<h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><strong>Difference between standards and frameworks</strong></span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Standards are well-defined and are expected to be followed closely.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Frameworks on the other hand are broad guidelines and imprecise expectations of reporting. Here are how standards give structure, comparability, and comprehensiveness to sustainability/ESG reporting. Most Sustainability Reporting standards, frameworks, and guidelines premises based on the understanding that for economic development to start or continue, every aspect of existence like social elements and environmental needs should be preserved.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Global Reporting Initiative Standards (GRI Standards) General Intro &amp; Goal</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>General &nbsp;Intro &nbsp;&amp; &nbsp;Goal:</strong> This is currently the most comprehensive and widely accepted of sustainability reporting standards. &nbsp;It has a set of 10 reporting principles that should be adhered to, for reporting the content and report quality. Stakeholder engagement and Materiality assessment are pivotal to the reporting process in this set of standards.<br /><br /><strong>Structure:</strong> The disclosures are divided into 2 main sections which are divided across two more rungs-</p><table style="border-collapse: collapse; width: 100.022%; height: 89.6px;" border="1"><tbody><tr style="height: 22.4px;"><td style="width: 48.4211%; height: 22.4px;"><strong>Universal Standards</strong></td><td style="width: 48.4211%; height: 22.4px;"><strong>Topic Specified Standards</strong></td></tr><tr style="height: 22.4px;"><td style="width: 48.4211%; height: 22.4px;">Foundation (101)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 48.4211%; height: 22.4px;">Economic (200 series)</td></tr><tr style="height: 22.4px;"><td style="width: 48.4211%; height: 22.4px;">General Disclosures (102)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 48.4211%; height: 22.4px;">Environmental (300 series)</td></tr><tr style="height: 22.4px;"><td style="width: 48.4211%; height: 22.4px;">Management Approach (103)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 48.4211%; height: 22.4px;">Social (400 series)</td></tr></tbody></table><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">There are topics under each category and each category has specified disclosures under them.</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Pros:</strong> Almost Comprehensive, Clear, and Specific with explanations for every disclosure, it has two options for reporting, one slightly limited, the other comprehensive. One set of standards for all industry sectors and entities makes it versatile and adaptable to different stages of reporting, the needs of the company or stakeholders, and the industry.<br /><br /><strong>Cons:</strong> &nbsp;It is so extensive that it tends to intimidate new reporters, many disclosures tend to require referring to detailed explanations to understand the requirement, and a few topics such as noise aren&rsquo;t covered.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><br /><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or UN SDGs)</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>General Intro &amp; Goal:</strong> These are 17 goals that were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. It lays out goals on most of the ESG issues plaguing the world today while presenting how the issues are interconnected and ameliorating one issue can also tackle another or more.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Structure:</strong> The 17 goals are broken down into targets under each goal that are specific and actionable and make sure the higher goal is achieved completely.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Pros:</strong> Rather than the disclosure route, which is the reverse way of making organizations act, the SDG Standards set out clear goals and expect reporting on them. They too are comprehensive in addressing almost all the issues troubling the world today, especially the developing nations.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Cons:</strong> The targets and goals are qualitative and are not assertive about quantitative reporting of SDG actions which would make progress measurable. This might affect the credibility of the reporting.</span></p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><br /></span><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>General Intro &amp; Goal:</strong> The SASB standards are now part of the Value Reporting Foundation along with the IR Framework that primarily addresses the needs of investors to assess their investment potential and risks. SASB Standards enable companies around the world to identify, measure, and manage the subset of ESG topics that most directly impact long-term enterprise value creation.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Structure: </strong>SASB has a separate set of standards with corresponding documents for specific industries focusing on the most pertinent industry-specific sustainability concerns.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Like GRI, SASB also has a three-rung structure:</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&bull; 77 industry standards for 77 industries divided under each of 11 Industry categories</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&bull; Each of the 77 industries mentioned has a separate standard with documentation on the Standards, a Basis for Conclusions that explains any revision, and a recommended Application Guidance</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&bull; Each set of Standards for every industry includes an essential brief introduction to the SASB Standard, the Use of the Standard, and an Industry Description. A snapshot of the disclosures and accounting metrics by top is also provided before the topics are explained in detail.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Pros: </strong>The industry-focused topic coverage makes it easier for the reporting organization to focus on topics that are crucial to it without needing to distribute its reporting resources on topics unimportant to it.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Cons:</strong> The flip side of being focused on the topics it covers by industry can also make its scope limited something like having blinders on while making the organization sustainable and reporting on it. This aspect stops the standard from being wholesome in its approach.</span></p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><br /></span><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Integrated Reporting (IR) Framework</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>General Intro &amp; Goal:</strong> This framework has been developed by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). The Integrated Reporting framework is now jointly part of the Value Reporting Foundation along with the SASB.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Integrated reporting combines material information about an organization&rsquo;s strategy, governance, performance, and prospects such that it reflects the commercial, social, and environmental context within which it operates.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Among other important purposes, IR intends to improve the quality of information available to providers of financial capital to enable a more efficient and productive allocation of capital. Structure: The IR framework provides 8 content elements as it calls them along with Guiding Principles and explains certain Fundamental concepts in its framework document. The 8 elements include aspects such as business model, strategy and resource allocation, outlook, and the basis of preparation and presentation of the report.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Pros:</strong> Provides a structure for &ldquo;broad-stroke reporting&rdquo; mostly useful to investors giving them a very financial value-based narrative of their organization. It provides value-seeker stakeholders a &ldquo;digested&rdquo; form of a report, unlike other reporting standards/frameworks that allow the audience or stakeholder to make their conclusions about the sustainability of an organization.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Cons:</strong> It doesn&rsquo;t lay enough emphasis or give adequate attention to details.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Special/Unique Features:</strong> The double materiality concept acknowledges that non-financial information is crucial to several constituencies. The SASB materiality map helps identify sustainability issues that are likely to affect the financial condition or operating performance of several companies within an industry.<br /><br /></span></p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Guidance</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>General Intro &amp; Goal: </strong>It helps investors, companies and cities focus on taking urgent action to build a truly sustainable economy by measuring and understanding their environmental impact. Through CDP companies throughout the world are persuaded to measure, manage, disclose, and ultimately reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Structure:</strong> The guidance is meant primarily for cities, companies, investors, states, and regions to report on any or all of three areas of focus which are Climate, Water, and Forests. The guidance is in the form of a questionnaire for each area of focus to be filled out online on the CDP website. CDP has now introduced a scoring mechanism based on analysis of the responses of its respondents.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Pros: </strong>CDP encourages a system of sustainability disclosure and transparency among companies and cities, thereby enabling organizations to benchmark, measure, and manage their environmental risks, while at the same time improving their brand reputation, increasing operational efficiency, and lowering their costs.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Cons:</strong> Encourages market-driven targets rather than by science which would be effective in tackling climate change. The targets therefore aren&rsquo;t ambitious enough to cut back on carbon emissions as much as is required to control climate change.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Special/Unique Features:</strong> It is the only guidance gathering its type of corporate climate change data and providing it to the marketplace.<br /><br /></span></p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI)</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>General Intro &amp; Goal:</strong> Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) are float-adjusted market capitalization weighted indices that measure the performance of companies selected with ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) criteria using a best-in-class approach. In other words, it tracks the stock performance of the world&rsquo;s leading companies in terms of economic, environmental, and social criteria.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">DJSI indices are designed for investors seeking to track equity markets while applying a sustainability superior selection process. Rather than a standard, framework, or guidance they are an index to rate companies on their economic, environmental, and social criteria.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Structure: </strong>To enter the index, the participating company needs to answer 100 questions, and ranking is done in comparison with peers in the industry sector and geographic region. The DJSI involves a 4-level structure, and it calls each level a universe. The levels are called the Starting Universe, Invited Universe, Assessed Universe, and DJSI World.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">From these questionnaires, each company can be awarded one or a combination of the following status based on its score:</span></p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Sector Leader</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Sector Mover</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">SAM Gold Class</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">SAM Silver ClassSam Bronze Class</span></li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Pros:</strong> Being included in the DJSI improves the profile of a company for a wide range of stakeholders &ndash; both internal (employees) and external (customers, the media, the public). Investors looking for high-performing companies who consider a sustainability business to have long-term viability may find this benchmark useful.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Cons:</strong> The DJSI&rsquo;s use of self-reported data as proxies for the social or environmental effects it intends to reflect exposes the index to corporate biases and additional credibility risks.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">On similar lines, it is a scoring system based on companies&rsquo; market performance and </span><span data-preserver-spaces="true">investment attractiveness less so its real environmental and social impacts.<br /><br /></span></p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>General Intro &amp; Goal: </strong>The TCFD was developed to provide recommendations for more effective climate-related disclosures that could promote more informed investment, credit, and insurance underwriting decisions. This would enable stakeholders to better understand the concentrations of carbon-related assets in the financial sector and the financial system&rsquo;s exposure to climate-related risks. As this understanding of the financial implications associated with climate change grows, it would empower the markets to channel investment to sustainable and resilient solutions, opportunities, and business models.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Structure: </strong>The TCFD&rsquo;s framework is presented in the form of recommendations. The 11 disclosure recommendations it provides span four different areas: governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Pros: </strong>Markets will be better equipped to evaluate, price, and manage those risks as companies complete consistent, reliable disclosures related to climate-based risks and opportunities. </span><span data-preserver-spaces="true">The recommendations are important because of the growing pressure on companies from governments, consumers, and investors to respond to climate change.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Cons: </strong>N/A<br /><br /></span></p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>General Intro &amp; Goal:</strong> IFC&rsquo;s Environmental and Social Performance Standards serve as an international benchmark for identifying and managing environmental and social risk. The framework applies to all investment and advisory clients whose projects go through IFC&rsquo;s initial credit review process. However, it is not restricted to adoption by such organizations only.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">IFC advises that where the potential environmental and social impacts associated with a financial institution&rsquo;s clients/investees are significant, the financial institution should apply the IFC&rsquo;s Performance Standards as a benchmark for identifying and managing these risks. Its scope stretches to high-profile, complex, international, or potentially high-impact projects.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Structure:</strong> IFC&rsquo;s Sustainability Framework comprises IFC&rsquo;s Policy and Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability and IFC&rsquo;s Access to Information Policy. It consists of 8 performance standards covering various topics ranging from Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts, Land Acquisition and Involuntary Settlements, Resource Efficiency, and Pollution Prevention to Cultural Heritage among 4 others. The standards are accompanied by an extensive guidance document to explain the standards and concepts under them.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Pros:</strong> Provide guidance on how to identify risks and impacts, and are designed to help avoid, mitigate, and manage risks and impacts.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Cons:</strong> N/A<br /><br /></span></p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>General Intro &amp; Goal:</strong> The UNPRI intends to support its international network of investor signatories in incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into their investment and ownership decisions. It was developed for investors by the investors.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">It is founded on the belief that an economically efficient, sustainable global financial system is a necessity for long-term value creation. Such a system will reward long-term, responsible investment and benefit the environment and society as a whole.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">The UNPRI although supported by the UN is not part of the UN. It engages with global policymakers but is not associated with any government. As an entity, it is not-for-profit and encourages investors to use responsible investment to enhance returns and better manage risks. Structure: The PRI consists of 6 principles with a focus on 3 areas of impact.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Pros: </strong>N/A</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Cons: </strong>Provides a loose framework in the form of high-level principles for reporting on ESG factors without defined parameters to measure them. This can lead to vague goals and ineffective ESG action therefore reporting.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Special/Unique Features:</strong> An organization needs to become a signatory first to employ or purchase PRI&rsquo;s literary material following which it needs to agree with a writer and it&rsquo;s a paid platform.<br /><br /></span></p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR)</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>General Intro &amp; Goal:</strong> The UK government wants to reduce duplication in carbon reporting, to ease the burden on business. It aims for SECR to give organizations a clearer picture of their energy use, incentivizing carbon reduction. It is intended to drive companies&rsquo; reputations too &ndash; reports will be publicly available, allowing increased transparency for investors and other stakeholders. Structure: This framework is guided by 7 principles of accounting and reporting.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Pros: </strong>Lower energy and resource costs, gain a better understanding of exposure to the risks of climate change and demonstrate leadership, which will help strengthen your green credentials in the marketplace. The environmental KPIs would help capture the link between environmental and financial performance.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Cons:</strong> Geographically limited to UK focus.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true"><strong>Special/Unique Features:</strong> Mandatory reporting framework for large companies in the UK. Designed to help companies inform the UK government&rsquo;s plan for meeting its carbon targets and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><em><span data-preserver-spaces="true">This article was contributed by our expert <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/nargis-ali-28761a37/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Nargis Ali</a></span></em></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt;"><strong>Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Nargis Ali<br /><br /></strong></span></p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>1. How to decide on the specific frameworks, and what considerations should be made?&nbsp;</strong></span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Deciding on specific frameworks and engaging with stakeholders to identify and prioritize Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues are critical steps for companies committed to sustainable and responsible business practices. A company can consider the following parameters:</span></p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Identify relevant ESG issues by conducting a materiality assessment</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Familiarize yourself with established ESG frameworks such as the GRI, SASB, TCFD, UN SDGs,&nbsp;</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Understand the expectations of key stakeholders, including investors, customers, employees, and the community. Stakeholder input is crucial in determining the materiality of ESG issues.</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Stay informed about current and potential future regulatory requirements related to ESG reporting</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Integrate ESG considerations into your overall business strategy</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Aligning sustainability goals with business objectives ensures that ESG efforts are meaningful and impactful</span></li><li>Choose frameworks that allow for flexibility and adaptation to changes in the business environment. ESG priorities may evolve, and the chosen framework should be able to accommodate these changes.</li></ul><h2 style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</h2><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;" data-preserver-spaces="true">2. How can companies engage with stakeholders to identify and prioritize ESG issues that are relevant to their business? </span></h2><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Identify and prioritize key stakeholders relevant to your business. This may include investors, customers, employees, suppliers, local communities, and regulatory bodies.</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Develop a comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy that outlines how, when, and through which channels you will engage with stakeholders. This could include surveys, workshops, interviews, and collaborative initiatives.</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Communicate openly and transparently with stakeholders about your company's commitment to ESG. Share information about existing sustainability practices, goals, and initiatives.</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Conduct materiality workshops or surveys to gather input on ESG priorities. This helps in understanding which issues matter most to stakeholders and where the company's impacts are most significant.</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Establish regular feedback loops with stakeholders to ensure ongoing communication and to stay informed about changing expectations and concerns</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Integrate stakeholder input into the decision-making process. Consider their perspectives when setting ESG priorities and goals.</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Emphasize continuous improvement in stakeholder engagement. Regularly review and update your engagement strategies based on feedback and changing circumstances.</span></li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">By combining a thorough understanding of relevant ESG frameworks with proactive and inclusive stakeholder engagement, companies can develop a robust ESG strategy that aligns with their business goals and societal expectations.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span data-preserver-spaces="true">3. How is the integration of ESG considerations embedded within the overall business strategy of the companies?</span></strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">The integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations within the overall business strategy involves aligning sustainability goals with the core values and long-term objectives of the organization. The key steps and considerations for effectively embedding ESG into the business strategy shall be:</span></p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Leadership commitment (top-down support)</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Materiality assessment</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Integration into core business functions and financial performance</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Setting clear goals and metrics</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Risk management, innovation, and product development</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Supply chain integration</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Employee engagement</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Stakeholder engagement</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Reporting &amp; transparency</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Regulatory compliance</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Continuous improvement<br /><br /></span></li></ul><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>4. In what ways are GRI Standards versatile and adaptable to different industry sectors and entities as compared to others?&nbsp;</strong></span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">The GRI Standards' versatility and adaptability stem from their global applicability, It is a comprehensive framework with a materiality focus, stakeholder inclusiveness, sector disclosures, flexibility, continuous improvement ethos, alignment with other standards, emphasis on materiality and context, and comprehensive coverage of sustainability topics. These features make GRI a valuable tool for organizations to disclose their economic, environmental, and social impacts and to communicate their sustainability performance in a meaningful and transparent manner.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span></p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>5. Does the framework include a materiality assessment process? Could you elaborate on the process?</strong></span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Yes, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework includes a materiality assessment process. The materiality concept is central to GRI reporting, and it is embedded in both the GRI Standards and the GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The materiality assessment helps organizations identify and prioritize the economic, environmental, and social topics that are most significant to their stakeholders and have the greatest impact on their sustainability performance. An overview of the materiality assessment process within the GRI framework includes:</span></p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Define the scope</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Engage stakeholders</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Identify potential topics</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Evaluate significance</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Prioritize material topics</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Materiality matrix</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Verify and validate</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Document the process</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Integrate into reporting</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Review and update<br /><br /></span></li></ul><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>6. Do these frameworks facilitate benchmarking against industry peers and competitors to assess the company's relative ESG performance?</strong></span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">While the primary focus of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is on providing a comprehensive framework for sustainability reporting rather than benchmarking against industry peers, the GRI Standards can still indirectly support benchmarking efforts because of its common reporting language, standardized matrix, and sector disclosers. The GRI framework helps companies disclose in a standardized and comparable manner, allowing stakeholders, including investors, analysts, and the public, to assess and compare the sustainability performance of different organizations.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Nargis Ali

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