Project marks a next step in aligning global and European sustainability standards
The European Financial
Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) and GRI have joined forces on the
technical work for their respective new biodiversity standards. EFRAG is
to make the draft EU standard available to the Commission mid-June,
while GRI’s aims to release an updated GRI Biodiversity Standard in the second half of 2022.
In July, when GRI was appointed co-constructor of the new EU sustainability reporting standards, Sean
Berrigan, Director General for Financial Stability, Financial Services
and Capital Markets Union, European Commission reiterated that: “European
sustainability reporting standards should build on and contribute to
the progress of existing standards and frameworks that are widely used
by companies.” The joint development of standards for
biodiversity is a concrete example. Following the due processes of both
GRI and EFRAG guarantees this interplay.
Co-construction means EFRAG and GRI join each other’s technical
expert groups, share information, align work plans and adjust timelines
as much as possible. Importantly, the joint work will
incorporate the latest developments and authoritative intergovernmental
instruments in the field of biodiversity, will enable consideration of
double materiality perspectives, and ensuring multi-stakeholder
Co-constructing our new Biodiversity standard with EFRAG marks a
significant next step in our collaboration. Aligning global and European
sustainability reporting will result in more effective, comprehensive
and comparable biodiversity reporting.
One of the key take-aways from COP 26 was that two of the most pressing
issues of our time, climate change and biodiversity loss, are
intrinsically linked. Holding organizations accountable for their
impacts is crucial to break the chain of events on both, for which
transparency forms the basis.
Not only will high quality disclosures lead to better decisions by the
companies, it also will inform decisions from providers of capital,
labor, and governments. That is why the review of GRI 304: Biodiversity
2016 is so important to us.
Judy Kuszewski, Chair of the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB)
When Commissioner Dombrovskis originally launched the revision of
the Non-Financial Reporting Directive, he and the Commission made it
clear that European Sustainability Reporting Standards should benefit
from long-standing precursors and avoid reinventing the wheel while
contributing at the same time to further substantial progress globally.
Working with GRI fits well with this principle and we are pleased to
further deepen our relation through the co-construction of this
Our aim is to create the highest possible level of alignment between the
European Sustainability Reporting Standards and the GRI Standards. Such
alignment will also help address a second requirement from the
Commission, which was to minimize the additional reporting pressure on
Patrick de Cambourg, Chair of the EFRAG Project Task Force
In June 2021, GRI announced plans to update GRI 304: Biodiversity 2016,
which is currently used annually by at least 2,000 of the more than
10,000 companies reporting each year with the GRI Standards.
A 17-member Technical Committee has been appointed by the GSSB to lead the development of a new GRI Biodiversity Standard. It has representatives from:
- Business enterprise (ConocoPhillips, DSM, L’OCCITANE Group)
- Civil society (BirdLife International, IUCN, Marine Watch International, WWF)
- Investment institutions (PBAF, World Bank)
- Labor (Department of Conservation – Wellington)
- Mediating institutions (CDP, Deloitte, Global Balance, Lancaster University, Rainforest Alliance, UEBT, UNEP-WCMC)
Within the EFRAG Project Task Force – European Sustainability Reporting Standards (PTF-ESRS), the development of the new biodiversity standard is led by members of Cluster 3 – Other environment topics: Alan
Brett, Philippe Diaz, Delphine Gibassier, Fabienne Grall, and Stefan
Schnell. The work is supported by an expert group comprised of: Robert
Adamczyk, Emily Healy, Ingmar Juergens, Johan Lammerant, Lourdes
Martín, and Rosa Pritchard.
The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group serves the European public interest in the field of financial reporting. The European Commission has tasked EFRAG to prepare for new EU sustainability reporting standards. This work is now adhering to the recommendations report by the PTF-ESRS.
© EFRAG - European Financial Reporting Advisory Group
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