Global body confirms three new sustainability standards for 2021 reports

Companies that disclose sustainability reports using Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards will need to apply three new and updated standards from this year. GRI said that, effective 1 January 2021, reporting companies must apply the global standard for tax transparency plus those that cover employee wellbeing and water/effluent responsibilities.

The independent body said its all of its standards aim to improve transparency in sustainability reporting and guide companies to disclose their full impact on society, the environment and the economy.

One of the new standards – GRI 207: Tax – covers disclosures on tax and payments to governments in the economies in which firms operate. The standard asks companies to report their tax payments and management approach to tax on country-by-country basis.

Meanwhile, GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety 2018, which focuses on employee safety and wellbeing, has been updated. The GRI said it has become more relevant as companies respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The content has been brought in line with internationally-agreed best practice on occupational health and safety management systems, prevention of harm and promotion of health at work.

GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018 asks companies to disclose their impact on water resources. The updated standard covers how water is managed, the impact on local communities and the full picture of water usage.

Bastian Buck, GRI chief of standards, said: “These three GRI standards now in effect will be applicable to many organisations around the world, helping them respond to the emerging demands of their stakeholders. From tax transparency to employee wellbeing and water stewardship, they cover crucial issues that illuminate corporate contributions to sustainable development.”

Later this year, the GRI will launch a major update to the universal standards at the heart of all reporting through the body.

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