The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has published a major update to its biodiversity standard to enable companies to meet growing multi-stakeholder demands for information on biodiversity impacts.
With human activity the main cause of as many as a million animal and plant species being on the brink of extinction, GRI 101: Biodiversity 2024 is designed to support organizations around the world in comprehensively disclosing their key biodiversity impacts across their operations and supply chains.
GRI will test the use of the standard among early adopters over the next two years, with companies expected to start reporting on this in general from January 1, 2026.
The revised GRI standard builds on important global developments in the field of biodiversity, such as the UN Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, the Science-based Target Network and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures.
“The consequences of biodiversity loss extend far beyond the natural environment, undermining progress on the SDGs and having devastating consequences for people, while also multiplying the climate crisis. Understanding the impact organizations have is therefore a crucial aspect of implementing global solutions to halt or even reverse the damage and address existential threats,” said Carol Adams, President of the GRI Global Sustainability Standards Board.
“The updated GRI standard sets a new bar for transparency about the impact on biodiversity. It supports detailed, site-specific reporting, both within an organization’s operations and across its supply chain, so stakeholders can assess how impacts on biodiversity are being mitigated and reduced. Identifying and managing an organization’s key impacts is critical to understanding dependencies and risks.”
The updated biodiversity standard aims to achieve four key aspects:
- Full transparency throughout the supply chain – often where the most important impacts on biodiversity remain underexposed.
- Location-specific impact reporting – including countries and jurisdictions, with detailed information on the location and size of operational locations.
- New revelations about the direct causes of biodiversity loss – including land use, climate change, overexploitation, pollution and invasive species.
- Requirements for reporting impacts on society – including those on communities and indigenous peoples, and how organizations work with local groups in the restoration of affected ecosystems.
GRI’s update comes at a crucial time, as the latest Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services warns that biodiversity is declining in every region, while 50% of the global economy is threatened due to biodiversity loss. according to analysis of the World Economic Forum.
Meanwhile, the internationally agreed Global Biodiversity Framework encourages action to protect biodiversity, with Target 15 requiring companies to disclose and reduce biodiversity-related risks and impacts.
Julia Oliva, policy director at the Union for Ethical BioTrade, commented: “There has been a fundamental shift in expectations around companies’ responsibilities regarding biodiversity. Companies must take urgent action to halt biodiversity loss, restore nature and respect the rights, roles and contributions of people in supply chains. When these actions not only take place, but are also validated and communicated through a common reporting structure such as GRI, all stakeholders benefit from such transparency.”
“We know that unless we take urgent action to transform our economy, a million species will be at risk of extinction. Yet we have shown that it is possible to improve the natural world and we know what it takes to change things,” said Martin Harper, CEO of BirdLife International.
“Understanding and taking action on business impact in critical areas. The updated GRI biodiversity standard makes me optimistic about our collective power to shape the future we want and that nature needs.”