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GRI Opens Public Consultation on Revised Standards for Employment Practices and Working Conditions

GRI Opens Public Consultation on Revised Standards for Employment Practices and Working Conditions

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Public comment on revised GRI Standards for employment practices and working conditions

How are organizations responding to their responsibilities to ensure decent working conditions and fully disclose their impacts on workers? This question is at the heart of a major review of all GRI labor-related Standards – with a consultation launched for the first phase of disclosures.  

Seeking greater transparency on employment practices and working conditions, a suite of proposed changes address policies on employment relationships, pay and working hours, and how businesses handle significant changes for workers. A global public comment period, underway until 4 October 2024, seeks feedback on redrafted versions of three Standards: 

  • GRI 402: Labor/Management Relations 
  • GRI 401: Employment  
  • GRI 202: Market Presence 

The process has been guided by an expert group comprising tripartite representation of workers (International Trade Union Confederation, Global Unions Federations), employers (International Organization of Employers) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Crucially, it will ensure GRI Labor Standards are fully aligned with key intergovernmental instruments for business and human rights, including those set by the ILO, the UN and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

Two further consultation stages in the labor project will happen over the coming 12 months: for working life and career development, followed by workers’ rights and protections. In total, updates will be made to 11 GRI Standards, guided by the human rights-based approach and due diligence. 

Revising labor-related disclosures is a high priority for the GSSB, given widespread recognition of the need for organizations to do more to protect human and labor rights and ensure decent conditions and treatment of workers. Better information and disclosure are key to achieving the SDGs and improving decision-making. I encourage all stakeholders to review the changes and provide feedback. I warmly thank the members of the Technical Committee and Advisory Group for their valuable input to draft this first set of GRI Labor Standards. The representation of all GRI stakeholder constituencies and input provided by the ILO, IOE and international trade unions increases the legitimacy and global relevance of the proposed new Standards.Carol Adams, Chair of GRI’s Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB)

ILO welcomes GRI’s commitment to align its reporting standards with the principles contained in international labor standards. This alignment contributes to business transparency concerning labor-related impacts, actions and performance; and helps companies to strengthen their contribution to SDG 8 on decent work and inclusive economic growth. We also commend GRI for including IOE and ITUC in the periodic updating of the standards, to ensure that the updates reflect the interests of the key actors in the world of work. ILO looks forward to the finalization of GRI’s Labor Standards, and we will continue to engage in their development.Emily Sims, Senior Specialist, International Labour Organization (ILO)

The IOE has cooperated with GRI for many years to help companies assess and report their social and environmental impacts, in line with the UN and OECD guidelines on responsible business conduct and human rights. As such, I was delighted to serve as IOE representative on the Technical Committee that reviewed all GRI labor-related disclosures. Crucially, these draft standards have been developed in cooperation with the ILO and the workers trade unions and have the potential to positively contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I encourage businesses, large and small, to engage in the public comment period to ensure that the perspectives of employers are fully reflected in the final standards.Paul Mackay, International Organisation of Employers (IOE) Governing Body Deputy Member

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Employment is a key social and economic impact of most organizations. For some, it is their biggest impact. Their workforce is a source of competitive advantage, but also a major risk for adverse impacts regarding workplace human rights and broader sustainability. The substantial revision underway to the GRI Labor Standards will be a major tool for organizations to manage risk and improve their performance in this critical area.Peter Colley, National Research Director, Mining and Energy Union (Australia) and a labor constituency representative on the GSSB

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