- Sustainability standard-setter the Global Reporting Initiative proposed updates Thursday to its standard for how companies report biodiversity impacts throughout their operations and value chain, expanding on a topic standard it initially published in 2016.
- The updates include guidelines for companies to increase transparency throughout their supply chain, how to understand what’s driving biodiversity loss, and requirements for reporting how biodiversity impacts affect specific regions and society overall.
- The standard was in development for two years and was released shortly after two prescient warnings on the growing scarcity of biodiversity. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ latest assessment found biodiversity is declining in every region, while the World Economic Forum reported half of the global economy is facing threats of biodiversity loss.
The standards were created by the independent Global Sustainability Standards Board and will go into effect for GRI reporting companies in 2026. As with all of GRI’s standards, the biodiversity standards require companies to take a double-materiality approach that examines the material impacts to investors as well as issues that affect a broader set of stakeholders.
The standard will require companies to report biodiversity impacts across their supply chain, an update from its 2016 standards. The update also limits the amount of information companies need to report to the “most significant impacts on biodiversity” rather than all impacts.
The GRI 101: Biodiversity 2024 standard also includes guidelines to report location-specific impacts and reporting on drivers of biodiversity loss, such as climate change, land use, overexploitation and pollution. GSSB Chair Carol Adams said the biodiversity loss is “a multiplying factor in the climate crisis,” and is endangering progress on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. She said the standards will set a “new bar” for transparency on biodiversity impacts.
“Understanding the impacts that organizations have is therefore a crucial aspect of implementing global solutions to halt and even reverse the damage and address existential threats,” Adams said in the release.
GRI said its standards build off a foundation laid by the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework — established at COP15 — Science Based Targets Network’s work on biodiversity and the Task Force on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures.
TNFD published its final recommendations in September and announced this month that 320 global companies and financial institutions will start reporting nature-related disclosures this year. Those companies hail from 46 countries and include $4 trillion in market cap and 100 financial institutions with more than $14 trillion in assets under management, according to the organization.
Packaging companies Crown Holdings, International Paper, Smurfit Kappa and Stora Enso are among the inaugural cohort of companies that have committed to begin making nature-related disclosures, the task force announced during the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland earlier this month.
TNFD Executive Director Tony Goldner said in the release his organization collaborated closely with GRI on the standard and GRI’s guidelines are “to a high extent consistent” with the TNFD’s recommendations.
GRI will have two webinars on the standards on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.