I was rereading the GRI G4 Reporting Guidelines the other day and was struck by several of the principles that GRI uses to define report quality (from p. 18 of the Reporting Principles). Let’s take a look at some of them:

Comparability
This principle refers to the need to select and report information in a consistent manner so that consumers of the report should be able to analyze changes in the organization’s performance over time (comparing it to itself) and in comparison to other organizations.

Accuracy
This principle refers to the need for the reported information to be accurate and detailed.

Timeliness
This one requires the organization to report on a regular schedule so that ‘information is available in time’.

Clarity
The information presented in a report should be accessible and understandable.

Reliability
The information gathered in a report should be readily subject to examination and verification.

Conclusion
As a data focused kind of guy, running a data focused organization, I took many of these principles for granted. These principles were the basis upon which we built Scope 5 and we continue to regard them as essential principles. They apply to any report, whether GRI, CDP, B-Corp or other.

Upon seeing these principles so crisply documented by the GRI, I realize that they are not to be taken for granted. Generating a report that adheres to these principles can be an onerous task. I appreciate that just the qualities that the GRI found important in a report align so well with what we have always focused on – making high quality reporting as easy as possible.