ISO and Global Reporting Initiative Increase Cooperation on Sustainable Development

ISO (International Organization for Standardization), the world’s largest developer of voluntary International Standards, and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), developer of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework, have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase their cooperation.

GRI was one of the 42 public or private sector organizations that participated with the representatives of 99 ISO member countries in the development of ISO 26000, the International Standard giving guidance on social responsibility, which was published on 1 November 2010. Following the launch of the standard, GRI published a linkage document on how to get the best out of ISO 26000 in conjunction with its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines – GRI and ISO 26000: How to use the GRI Guidelines in conjunction with ISO 26000.


The MoU was signed in Geneva, Switzerland, where ISO’s Central Secretariat is located, on 5 September 2011 by ISO Secretary-General, Rob Steele, and GRI Chief Executive, Ernst Ligteringen.

The MoU is intended to leverage the activities of the two organizations related to reporting and benchmarking by business and on sustainable development by sharing information on ISO standards and GRI programmes, teaming up with other partners, participating in the development of new or revised documents, joint promotion and communication.

ISO and GRI are also to support and promote each other’s involvement in initiatives related to sustainable development, such as the Rio+20 conference in Brazil in 2012, and other programmes by organizations such as the United Nations Global Compact, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the United Nations Environment Programme.

ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele commented: “Partnerships with important stakeholders like GRI help ISO to increase business knowledge of its standards and their value to develop practical global solutions to the global challenge of sustainability facing our planet.”

GRI Chief Executive, Ernst Ligteringen, added: “GRI’s mission is to make sustainability reporting standard practice, and today’s new partnership with ISO will help more businesses around the world to improve their sustainability management and reporting practices.”

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