Continued degradation of environmental resources and failing to provide safe and healthy working environments globally have put water and OHS high on the global agenda, and are relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Credible and actionable information about organizations’ impact on society and the environment is more important now than it has ever been, and sustainability reporting must also reflect the changes in how we understand problems and how we think about solutions.
The format of the new GRI Standards allows the update of individual standards (topics) without having to update the whole document. It also allows the introduction of additional standards (topics) if it is deemed as necessary by the GSSB (Global Sustainability Standards Board).
This month marks the first example of this process, through the update of two standards (topics), the GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety, and GRI 303: Water and Effluents. These GRI Standards have been updated to ensure reporting on these issues is done according to current best practice. They further reflect the urgency of the new ways of understanding and addressing these issues. The process for updating the Standards is based on a multi-stakeholder, expert approach, which helps the GRI ensure that the content is developed based on consensus and in the public interest.
The updated GRI 403 allows companies to improve their measurement of how they contribute to the health, safety and general well-being of their workers. The revision focuses on the presence of robust occupational health and safety management systems, and the processes and programs that prevent harm and promote worker health. The new Standard aligns with key international instruments from the ILO (International Labor Organization) and with ISO45001.
GRI 303 has been revised to bring best practices in water stewardship into reporting practice. The Standard also has a basis on the Sustainable Development Goal 6 which addresses issues of drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene, and quality and sustainability of water resources available. It introduces a holistic framework for collecting information about an organization’s water use, the associated impacts, and how it addresses them. The Standard also addresses the investors’ perspective and approach to measuring water risk and water security, and it is aligned wherever possible with other reporting frameworks, including the CEO Water Mandate Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines, and the revised CDP Water Questionnaire.
To get all the latest updates on legislation (including the integration of the UN SDG’s) and get trained on the new GRI standards join the CSE Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Program in London, December 6-7, 2018. CSE is a boutique sustainability consultant and trainer with an international presence.