NGOs get own guidelinesJune 2010
Non-governmental organizations have been given a specific version of the Global Reporting Initiative’s sustainability reporting guidelines.
Although some NGOs already use the main GRI guidelines, the organization has highlighted a number of ‘unique needs’ for non-profits, and has produced advice on ethical fundraising, operational transparency, and the linking of governance to values.
On fundraising and allocation of resources, the supplement recommends that non-profits break down funding by source, list their five largest individual donations, and review ‘processes in place to track the use of resources for the purposes intended, including both cash and in-kind contributions’.
Additionally, a key difference is emphasised in the application of the reporting guidelines to NGOs. The supplement says: ‘It is important to distinguish here that the purpose of this reporting framework is on the sustainability of the organization and the effectiveness of systems in place to optimise programme delivery, rather than the impact of its work.’
The GRI hopes to encourage more NGOs to report under its guidelines. Last year only 27 of the 1361 reports listed by the GRI were classified as being from non-profits. Increasingly, many business leaders have also begun to demand that a similar level of accountability should be required to the NGO sector as it is to the corporate world.
In a separate move, the GRI has also published a supplement for the food processing sector, which joins industry-specific advice for the electric utilities, financial services and mining sectors.
The guidance, produced by a working group that included Findus, Nestle and WWF, focuses especially on ethical sourcing and animal welfare. It recommends, for example, that firms should report on the percentage of animals in its supply chain that are exposed to potential welfare risks connected to breeding and genetic practices – and that they should report this by species and commercial purpose.
More sector supplements are being developed by the Amsterdam-based GRI for airport operators, construction and real estate, event organizers, media, and the oil and gas industry.
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