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GRI 101: Biodiversity 2024 - A Milestone in Corporate Biodiversity Accountability

Updated: Feb 8

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The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has taken a significant leap in biodiversity reporting by publishing GRI 101: Biodiversity 2024, updating and expanding upon the previous GRI 304: Biodiversity 2016.


This new standard sets a global benchmark in corporate accountability for biodiversity impacts.



The Urgency of Biodiversity Conservation


As nature faces unprecedented pressures, human activities have pushed approximately one million animal and plant species to the brink of extinction. Biodiversity, crucial for the survival of our planet, is declining in every region, with the World Economic Forum's analysis indicating that 50% of the global economy is at risk due to biodiversity loss. The updated GRI Standard arrives at a crucial time to address these existential threats.


As per the KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting (October 2022), only 40% of the assessed 5,800 companies reported on biodiversity, indicating a substantial opportunity for improvement.


The IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, released in 2019, highlights the urgency of biodiversity conservation. It emphasizes that human activities have significantly impacted biodiversity, with approximately one million animal and plant species now facing the brink of extinction.


These findings underscore the importance of initiatives like the GRI 101: Biodiversity 2024 standard, which aims to address such existential threats by improving corporate accountability and transparency in reporting biodiversity impacts.



Key Aspects of the GRI 101: Biodiversity 2024


  • Alignment with Global Frameworks: The GRI 101 standard aligns with major global biodiversity initiatives, including the UN Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, the Science-Based Target Network (SBTN), and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD). This alignment ensures that the standard remains relevant and consistent with current international biodiversity goals and targets, effectively responding to global biodiversity challenges.


  • Focus on Supply Chain Transparency: A notable feature of the GRI 101 standard is its emphasis on supply chain transparency. This is crucial as many biodiversity impacts occur beyond a company's direct operations. The standard promotes detailed reporting on biodiversity impacts throughout the supply chain, ensuring comprehensive transparency.


  • Location-Specific Reporting: The standard mandates location-specific reporting on biodiversity impacts. This includes detailed information on the place and size of operational sites, thus enabling stakeholders to understand where and how biodiversity impacts occur.


  • Direct Drivers of Biodiversity Loss: The standard introduces new disclosures on the direct drivers of biodiversity loss, such as land use, climate change, overexploitation, pollution, and invasive species. This comprehensive approach helps organizations identify and manage their most significant biodiversity impacts.


  • Human Rights Impacts: Another critical aspect of the GRI 101 standard is its requirement for reporting biodiversity-related human rights impacts. This includes impacts on communities, Indigenous Peoples, and workers, and how organizations engage with these groups in the restoration of affected ecosystems.


  • Integration with EFRAG for the EU Biodiversity Standard: The GRI has cooperated and exchanged with EFRAG to align the GRI 101 standard with the new EU biodiversity standard (ESRS E4). This collaboration is part of an effort to ensure global alignment and consistency in biodiversity reporting standards.


  • Wider Consultation and Development Process: The development of the GRI 101 standard involved a multi-stakeholder process, including a public comment period that concluded in early 2023. Input from various experts and organizations has shaped the standard, ensuring it reflects the latest insights and best practices in biodiversity reporting.


The GRI 101: Biodiversity 2024 standard represents a significant step forward in biodiversity reporting, with its comprehensive approach, alignment with global frameworks, and focus on supply chain and location-specific impacts. It is a crucial tool for organizations to report their biodiversity impacts transparently and effectively, contributing to global efforts to address biodiversity loss



Key Features of GRI 101


The standard is divided into two main sections: Topic Management Disclosures and Topic Disclosures.


Topic Management Disclosures


These are centered on how an organization manages each of its material topics. For instance, if biodiversity is determined to be a material topic, the organization is required to report how it manages this topic using specific disclosures.


This includes outlining policies or commitments to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, as well as actions taken to manage biodiversity impacts. This section supplements, but does not replace, other disclosures in the GRI Standards, such as those in GRI 3: Material Topics 2021.


For example, Disclosure 101-1 requires organizations to describe their policies for halting and reversing biodiversity loss, which should align with global frameworks like the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Disclosure 101-2 focuses on how organizations apply the mitigation hierarchy to manage biodiversity impacts.



Topic Disclosures


These disclosures require organizations to report specific data and information relevant to their biodiversity-related impacts.


This includes the identification of biodiversity impacts (Disclosure 101-4), locations with significant biodiversity impacts (Disclosure 101-5), direct drivers of biodiversity loss (Disclosure 101-6), changes to the state of biodiversity (Disclosure 101-7), and impacts on ecosystem services (Disclosure 101-8).


These disclosures are more focused on the outcomes and impacts of the organization's activities rather than the management approach.


In essence, Topic Management Disclosures are about the strategies, policies, and management approaches used by the organization to address material topics, while Topic Disclosures are more focused on the actual impacts and data-driven outcomes related to those topics. Both are integral to comprehensive sustainability reporting.


These disclosures are designed to provide a comprehensive view of an organization’s impact on biodiversity and are crucial for understanding and managing these impacts effectively.


For more detailed information and guidance on these disclosures, it is recommended to refer directly to the GRI 101: Biodiversity 2024 standard.



Future Directions in Biodiversity Reporting


Looking ahead, biodiversity reporting is poised for significant evolution, influenced by global standards and technological advancements. Key developments may include:


  • Enhanced Use of Technology: Emerging technologies like AI and big data are expected to refine biodiversity monitoring and reporting.


  • Holistic Reporting: An increased focus on the interconnectedness of biodiversity, climate change, and human activities.


  • Actionable Reporting: Future standards might emphasize actionable insights for biodiversity conservation.


  • Standard Harmonization: A move towards harmonizing diverse global biodiversity reporting standards.


  • Inclusive Stakeholder Engagement: Greater inclusion of indigenous communities and their traditional knowledge in shaping reporting frameworks.


  • Policy-Driven Reporting Standards: Evolving public policies will likely influence corporate reporting, demanding more comprehensive biodiversity disclosures.


These trends indicate a shift towards more integrated, technology-driven, and action-oriented biodiversity reporting.



Charting a Sustainable Future with GRI 101


GRI 101: Biodiversity 2024 marks a watershed moment in corporate sustainability reporting. It serves as a robust framework for organizations worldwide to measure, manage, and communicate their biodiversity impacts effectively.


This standard not only aligns with critical global biodiversity frameworks but also paves the way for a future where technology and holistic approaches play a key role in conservation efforts. As we navigate the biodiversity crisis, GRI 101 stands as a testament to the power of transparency and collective action in fostering a sustainable, nature-positive world.


 

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