The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), one of the foremost organizations promoting standardized ESG reporting, has announced the publication of its new Biodiversity Standard, which aims to enable companies to publicly disclose on their most significant biodiversity impacts and how they are managed and to improve the comparability and quality of biodiversity-related reporting for stakeholders.
The GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards are one of the most widely accepted global standards for sustainability reporting by companies. They were developed to enable consistent reporting across industries and companies, thereby facilitating clearer communication with stakeholders regarding sustainability issues. The reporting guidelines include various ESG-related themes, including anti-corruption practices, biodiversity, and emissions.
Environmental disclosure platform CDP recently announced plans to use the standard, once published, to inform its own disclosure system, and GRI's participation in the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures' (TNFD) to deliver a framework for organizations to report and act on evolving nature-related risks suggests that the new standard will likely influence emerging voluntary and mandatory disclosure systems globally.
Judy Kuszewski, Chair of the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), the independent organization responsible for establishing the GRI Standards, stated:
"It is abundantly obvious that biodiversity is under attack, and human activity is the primary cause. The effects of biodiversity loss directly undermine the sustainable development agenda and, if left unchecked, will have catastrophic effects on the environment, the economy, and people."
GRI's proposed standard significantly updates its existing biodiversity reporting guidelines, most notably facilitating reporting of impacts across the supply chain, requiring information on an organization's activities and its suppliers' activities with the most significant impacts on biodiversity, and recommending the provision of information on the downstream value chain.
The addition of new disclosures to connect with the drivers of biodiversity loss, such as climate change, pollution, and overexploitation of resources, the introduction of requirements for biodiversity-related human rights impacts, and an emphasis on location-specific data for greater transparency regarding where biodiversity impacts occur are among the additional modifications.
The Biodiversity Standard exposure draught is currently available for public comment until the end of February 2023.
The GRI announced in June 2021 that it had received funding for developing the updated standard from several companies and organizations, including the professional services firm KPMG, the environmental services firm Ambipar, the philanthropic organization One Earth, and a private individual. In today's announcement, the GRI stated, "GRI thanks KPMG, Ambipar, and One Earth for their financial support during the update to GRI 304's development phase."