On Tuesday, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) launched the first global standards for sustainability reporting in Mumbai in collaboration with BSE Ltd, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Yes Bank Ltd.

GRI is an international, independent standards organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and report on their impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights and corruption.

Founded in 1997, GRI has from time to time issued guidelines that businesses can use to report non-financial information. It has 95 member countries that follow the GRI guidelines in reporting.

In India these are the basis of the National Voluntary Guidelines (NVGs) drafted by the ministry of corporate affairs in 2012. Under NVGs, as per the 2012 directive by Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), top 100 companies as per market capitalisation are required to release Business Responsibility Reports (BRRs) based on the NVGs; this has been extended to 500 companies beginning April 2017.

The new GRI-Sustainability Reporting Standards are aimed at enabling companies around the world to be more transparent about their impacts on the economy, the environment and society - and use similar reporting formats for disclosures.

Theses are a set of 36 modular Standards that facilitate corporate reporting on topics such as greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water use, and labour practices.

The latest GRI-G4 guidelines have been in use for the last two years, which have been taken as the basis for the new standards.

GRI deputy chief executive Teresa Fogelberg said, “GRI Standards... will enhance transparency around business impacts on some of the most pressing issues facing humanity including combating climate change, promoting human rights and ensuring gender equality, to name only a few."

At the launch in Mumbai, Neeraj Kulshrestha, chief of business operations, BSE, said, “We at BSE believe that sustainability of business is now a priority and not merely an option... Companies listed at BSE are encouraged to adopt the best practices on disclosure of sustainability measures they follow. Widespread adoption of the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards will be a leap forward towards not only complying with green initiatives but also opening avenues for profound positive effect on business."

BSE Ltd is the first stock exchange from Asia to sign the Sustainable Stock Exchange initiative.

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