Understanding G4: The Concise Guide to Next Generation Sustainability Reporting

Understanding G4: The Concise Guide to Next Generation Sustainability Reporting
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"Elaine Cohen's book is a must-read for anyone working in sustainability. I would highly recommend it for even very experienced consultants."
CEO, The AtKisson Group and author of The Sustainability Transformation

Sustainability reporting is here to stay and expanding its influence. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Sustainability Reporting Framework was launched in May 2013, with the publication of two manuals, adding up to 300 pages of technical guidance. Since then thousands of reporters have been hoping for a short and definitive guide to this new reporting paradigm. This is it!

In this expert guide to G4, Elaine Cohen presents an easy-to-follow review of everything any company needs to know in order to decide whether to use the G4 Framework and if so, how. 

If you want to know what G4 means for corporate reporters, whether they are first-timers, SMEs, experienced global companies or existing GRI reporters at any level, this book is for you. It will give you the answers you need to make decisions, in a user-friendly format, and help you deliver greater value to your own company or your client companies. 

This book will also help users of reports know what to expect from the new generation of G4 Sustainability Reports and reporting consultants, as they advise clients on reporting process, content and disclosure. 

Note: GRI has reviewed Understanding G4 and has confirmed that it provides a broadly accurate representation of the technical guidance in the GRI framework. However, GRI makes no comment on opinions and matters of interpretation presented in the book, which represent the views of the author.


"Elaine Cohen’s book could very well become essential pre-reading for anyone starting out on G4 reporting, and I would highly recommend it even for very experienced consultants. There were things I thought I understood about G4 that I clearly did not; but a quick romp through Cohen’s lucid text and concise diagrams helped me (1) figure out where I was lacking in understanding, and then (2) rapidly feel like an expert again....With this 115-page book on my computer, I am no longer afraid of the mysterious G4. I might even be able to talk intelligently with my clients again. Well done ... and thank you!"
Alan AtKisson, CEO The AtKisson Group; author of Believing Cassandra and The Sustainability Transformation

"This is an important, insightful and most useful book" 
Glenn Frommer, Head of Corporate Sustainability, MTR, Hong Kong


Elaine Cohen is the founder and managing consultant of Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR Consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm, serving a long list of international companies. She is an acknowledged expert on sustainability reporting and helps companies around the world write award-winning reports.

Elaine lectures widely on CSR, is a committed blogger via her blog www.csr-reporting.blogspot.com and provides expert reviews of sustainability reports for CorporateRegister.com and Ethical Corporation Magazine. 

Elaine authored the first ever book on the interface between CSR and Human Resources (CSR for HR, Greenleaf, 2010) and a first on small company reporting: Sustainability Reporting for SMEs; Competitive Advantage through Transparency (Do Sustainability, 2013).


How will Understanding G4  help you? 
What does a G4 report look like?
What's different about G4 versus G3?
What are the advantages of using G4?
How do you start writing a G4 report?
What's to watch when developing a G4 report? 
Key things to note about the Reporting Principles
Key things to note about General Standard Disclosures
Key things to note about Specific Standard Disclosures
Key things to note about Disclosures on Management Approach
Key things to note about Sector Supplements
Will G4 mean no more reporting to other frameworks? 
Key things to note about Harmonization
Key things to note about Integration 
Does my G4 report need to be audited? 
Key things to note about Assurance
Additional Insights for Reporters and Non Reporters 
The question on everybody's lips: Will G4 reports be shorter? 
Author Perspective: The G4 Maturity Threshold
List of Figures
Figure 1:  G4 required reporting elements
Figure 2:  Comparison of G3 and G4 General Disclosures
Figure 3: Material Aspects covered by G4
Figure 4: Changes in the number of performance indicators  
Figure Five:  Specific Standard Disclosure Tables 
Figure 6: The G4 SWOT
Figure 7: The G4 Decision Matrix
Figure 8: Principles for Defining Report Content
Figure 9: Principles for Defining Report Quality


Title: Understanding G4: The Concise Guide to Next Generation Sustainability Reporting
Author: Elaine Cohen
Publication Date: June 2013
Page extent: 115 pages
Formats and ISBNs:
pdf 9781909293656
epub 9781909293649
print 9781909293632