GRI Unveils New Biodiversity Standard: Game Changer for Transparency

GRI collaborated with key organizations, including TNFD, EFRAG, SBTN, and WBA Nature Benchmark, to ensure alignment between the reporting standards and existing systems.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a leading advocate for standardized Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting, has officially released its updated Biodiversity Standard, titled “GRI 101: Biodiversity 2024.”

This major overhaul is designed to empower companies to publicly disclose their most significant biodiversity impacts and the strategies they employ for effective management.

The unveiling of this new reporting standard is particularly timely as businesses and financial institutions increasingly prioritize addressing nature and biodiversity risks.

The global landscape has witnessed significant strides in this regard, notably with the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) by governments worldwide during the COP15 UN Biodiversity Conference in December 2022. The GBF outlines ambitious goals aimed at halting biodiversity loss, safeguarding natural ecosystems, and enhancing biodiversity-related financing.

Moreover, the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) finalized its recommendations for nature-related risk management and disclosure in September 2023. Hundreds of companies have already committed to implementing these recommendations for nature-related reporting.

The development of the updated GRI Biodiversity Standard spanned a two-year period, building upon the momentum generated by these global biodiversity-related initiatives. The GRI collaborated with key organizations, including TNFD, EFRAG, SBTN, and WBA Nature Benchmark, to ensure alignment between the reporting standards and existing systems.

Tony Goldner, Executive Director of the TNFD, commended GRI for this significant milestone, emphasizing the importance of transparency in supporting global efforts to safeguard biodiversity. Goldner highlighted the close collaboration between TNFD and GRI, aiming to streamline and align TNFD recommendations with GRI standards.

Key features of the updated standard include enhanced reporting capabilities across the supply chain and detailed location-specific impact reporting, offering stakeholders comprehensive information on the place and size of operational sites. Notably, the new standard incorporates disclosures on the direct drivers of biodiversity loss, encompassing factors such as land use, climate change, overexploitation, pollution, and invasive species.

In addition to environmental impacts, the GRI’s Biodiversity Standard broadens its scope to include reporting requirements on impacts on society and human rights, shedding light on how organizations manage these multifaceted impacts. The emphasis on holistic reporting ensures a comprehensive understanding of dependencies and risks associated with an organization’s activities.

The updated standard is scheduled to go into formal effect in January 2026. However, the GRI has ambitious plans to pilot the standard with early adopters over the next two years. This phased approach aims to encourage proactive engagement and collaboration among businesses committed to advancing biodiversity reporting.

Carol Adams, Chair of the GRI Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), emphasized the transformative nature of the updated standard. Adams stated that the GRI Standard sets a new benchmark for transparency on biodiversity impacts, enabling detailed, location-specific reporting within an organization’s operations and throughout its supply chain. This transparency allows stakeholders to assess how companies mitigate and reduce their impacts on biodiversity, providing crucial insights into dependencies and risks.

As the world grapples with pressing environmental challenges, the GRI’s Biodiversity Standard stands out as a crucial tool for corporations striving to align their operations with global biodiversity goals. The comprehensive reporting framework ensures that companies not only disclose their impacts but also actively contribute to the collective efforts to preserve and restore our planet’s biodiversity.