The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) and GRI have joined forces on the technical work for their respective new biodiversity standards. EFRAG is to make the draft EU standard available to the Commission in mid-June, while GRI’s aims to release an updated GRI Biodiversity Standard in the second half of 2022.
In July, when GRI was appointed co-constructor of the new EU sustainability reporting standards, Sean Berrigan, Director General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, European Commission reiterated that: “European sustainability reporting standards should build on and contribute to the progress of existing standards and frameworks that are widely used by companies.” The joint development of standards for biodiversity is a concrete example. Following the due processes of both GRI and EFRAG guarantees this interplay.
Co-construction means EFRAG and GRI join each other’s technical expert groups, share information, align work plans and adjust timelines as much as possible. Importantly, the joint work will incorporate the latest developments and authoritative intergovernmental instruments in the field of biodiversity, will enable consideration of double materiality perspectives, and ensuring multi-stakeholder consensus.
Judy Kuszewski, Chair of the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), which has responsibility for setting the GRI Standards, said: “Co-constructing our new Biodiversity standard with EFRAG marks a significant next step in our collaboration. Aligning global and European sustainability reporting will result in more effective, comprehensive and comparable biodiversity reporting. One of the key take-aways from COP 26 was that two of the most pressing issues of our time, climate change and biodiversity loss, are intrinsically linked. Holding organizations accountable for their impacts is crucial to break the chain of events on both, for which transparency forms the basis. Not only will high quality disclosures lead to better decisions by the companies, it also will inform decisions from providers of capital, labor, and governments. That is why the review of GRI 304: Biodiversity 2016 is so important to us.”
Patrick de Cambourg, Chair of the EFRAG Project Task Force leading the technical work to develop EU sustainability reporting standards, said: “When Commissioner Dombrovskis originally launched the revision of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive, he and the Commission made it clear that European Sustainability Reporting Standards should benefit from long-standing precursors and avoid reinventing the wheel while contributing at the same time to further substantial progress globally. Working with GRI fits well with this principle and we are pleased to further deepen our relation through the co-construction of this standard. Our aim is to create the highest possible level of alignment between the European Sustainability Reporting Standards and the GRI Standards. Such alignment will also help address a second requirement from the Commission, which was to minimize the additional reporting pressure on organizations.”