How to Use the Guidelines


How to Use the Guidelines

To benefit from G4 Online, you will first have to gain a basic understanding of the G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. If you are not yet familiar with the G4 Guidelines, it is advisable that you review the text below and also read the PDF version of the
Reporting Principles and Standard Disclosures.

If you are already familiar with the G4 Guidelines, G4 Online will help you to navigate through the Guidelines content when you are in the process of preparing a G4-based report. Read the sections below to get started.


The Guidelines are presented in two parts:
  • Reporting Principles and Standard Disclosures
  • Implementation Manual

The first part – Reporting Principles and Standard Disclosures – contains Reporting Principles, Standard Disclosures, and the criteria to be applied by an organization to prepare its sustainability report ‘in accordance’ with the Guidelines. Definitions of key terms are also included.

The second part – Implementation Manual – contains explanations of how to apply the Reporting Principles, how to prepare the information to be disclosed, and how to interpret the various concepts in the Guidelines. References to other sources, a glossary and general reporting notes are also included.

In G4 Online, this content is combined for easy reference, with the Principles and Standard Disclosures accompanied by explanatory Guidance text from the Implementation Manual.

The following sections can be found in G4 Online:

Now you are ready to proceed. Read the information below and start to use the Guidelines in the G4 Online format.


Preparing a sustainability report using the Guidelines is an iterative process. The following steps describe how to use the Guidelines in the sustainability reporting process. This description aims to guide the reader through the main parts of the Guidelines, and does not necessarily depict a linear process for preparing a sustainability report.

At the core of preparing a sustainability report is a focus on the process of identifying material Aspects – based, among other factors, on the Materiality Principle. Material Aspects are those that reflect the organization’s significant economic, environmental and social impacts; or substantively influence the assessments and decisions of stakeholders.

1. Obtain an Overview

2. Choose the Preferred 'In Accordance' Option

3. Prepare to Disclose General Standard Disclosures

4. Prepare to Disclose Specific Standard Disclosures

5. Prepare the Sustainability Report

Organizations that have prepared a sustainability report are requested to notify GRI upon release of the report, if:
  • The report is ‘in accordance’ with the Guidelines – Core or Comprehensive option
  • The report contains Standard Disclosure(s) from the Guidelines but has not fulfilled all the requirements of either ‘in accordance’ option
When notifying GRI, organizations can choose either or both of the following options:
  • Notify GRI of the report and provide hard and/or soft copy
  • Register the report in GRI’s Sustainability Disclosure Database: