In the face of a growing global waste crisis, new corporate reporting disclosures are being developed by GRI to help organizations better understand and communicate their waste impacts. International recognition of the need for action on waste is increasing. The scale of the issue – from the effect of plastics in marine ecosystems to the mounting disconnect between food waste generation and global hunger – illustrate why businesses and other organizations need to play their part by improving waste management practices. It is in this context that the GRI Waste Standard is under development, which is now open for a 75-day public comment period.
The draft Standard recognizes the importance of the transition to a circular economy and includes:
- A fundamental shift in the perception of waste – from an unwanted burden to a source of valuable materials;
- Greater emphasis on how decisions on procuring and using materials relate directly towaste generation and waste quality;
- New disclosures to understand how discarded waste has been created and the significance of this impact;
- Recognition of an organization’s impacts in the value chain and reporting how this is managed.
Judy Kuszewski, Chair of the GRI Global Sustainability Standards Board, said:
“The draft GRI Waste Standard recognizes that our linear, ‘take-make-waste’ approach is contributing towards a global waste crisis. As the world moves to a more circular economy, in which we treat waste as an input material for production, a new approach to reporting is needed.
This Standard will help companies better understand and measure their waste impacts, disclosing reliable and comparable data that ultimately supports better decisions. It also encourages creativity and lateral thinking – something that’s needed to tackle the issue internationally.
Our public comment period is now open for contributions from anyone – irrespective of sector, type of business or region – to inform the development of the Waste Standard and help us ensure it is fit for purpose and as relevant as possible.”
The draft Standard will update GRI 306: Effluents and Waste 2016. It has been developed by a multi-stakeholder Project Working Group, appointed in 2018 by the Global Sustainability Standards Board to review, revise or expand the content of waste disclosures.
Recent international attention on the global waste crisis include: UN Environment’s warning that by 2050 the oceans will contain more plastic than fish; World Economic Forum findings that electronic waste now accounts for 70% of landfill; and the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the UN identifying that one third of food produced globally goes to waste.