Professional reporting on sustainability
In its sustainability reporting, the Uelzena Group follows the globally known GRI Standards. In 2017 this reporting had a transition from G4 to the current version “GRI Standards”.
The Uelzena Group began its sustainability reports four years ago. The management deliberately opted to base its reports on the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) because these specific criteria allow companies to manage sustainability better. Moreover, a uniform criterion of the performance of companies make comparisons easier and with that comes transparency for the stakeholders.
Despite the fact that there are some GRI alternatives available, no other standard is applied on a global level as often as the GRI Guidelines. This is a decisive advantage for the Uelzena Group because most of our customers are internationally active food industry enterprises. Another factor contributing to the good reputation of the GRI is that the renowned United Nations Environment Program was involved in its development.
Current version: Transitioning from G4 to GRI Standards
Since its first draft, the GRI Standards have been subject to an ongoing review. However, the current version of GRI Standards is breaking away from the previous G4 version. However, a lot remains unchanged:
- The central reporting guidelines still apply.
- Companies should focus on essential topics which they define based on materiality analysis.
- The management approaches are still the central and structural reporting element.
- Additional criteria from guidelines typical for a certain industry will remain in effect - for the Uelzena Group these are the “Food Processing” criteria.
- Companies are still allowed to develop their own topics and criteria just as long as they comply with the GRI quality principles.
GRI Standards - what has changed compared to G4? Some essential terms were replaced. Aspects are now named topics; indicators are now termed disclosures. Some of the topics and disclosures were summarized, eliminated or reworded.
A new code system provides a better overview. The numbering now indicates to which main category the topics and the corresponding disclosures belong. For example, all topics of the 200 series of the GRI Standards belong to the category “economic”. G4-EC1 (“economic performance”) is now coded as GRI 201-1. Another advantage: Because of the modular organization into three universal and 33 specific parts, the Global Reporting Initiative will be able to further develop the guidelines in a more targeted manner in the future. These changes can then be communicated more clearly and implemented by the organizations.
New additional information for management approaches
It is important for the Uelzena Group that from now on companies may officially report "in accordance with GRI”. This means that the company may report selectively on individual topics and disclosures. The Uelzena Group makes use of this option in its 2017 reporting because the development of our reporting had not yet been fully completed. However, it is still our goal to implement the "CORE reporting option" with stricter conditions.
Another change relates to management approaches: In addition to describing the context, the targets and measures as well as the evaluation, companies shall also describe the impact limits of a topic. This means that the impact of a management approach is described with regard as to how and where it has an effect. Is it at the company’s sites, at the suppliers or at the customers? Previously, the information had been provided within the scope of the materiality analysis alone.
The transition from G4 to GRI standards is mandatory and should be completed by 2018 at the latest. The Uelzena Group changed its reporting to GRI Standards in 2017.