The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), one of the leading organizations promoting standardized Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria are a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments. More reporting, announced today the launch of a new disclosure standard for the agriculture, aquaculture and fishing sectors, aimed at guiding companies involved in the production of crops, animals and seafood to communicate their impacts on key sustainability areas including on the environment, economic development and human rights.
The agriculture, aquaculture and fishing sectors are major focus areas for sustainability action and information, as in addition to their central role in feeding humanity, they have significant impact on the planet and people. Agriculture, for example, accounts for a significant proportion of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as land use and deforestation. Each of the sectors affect issues ranging from climate change and biodiversity loss to food security and labor practices.
Dr. Leah Samberg, Lead Scientist for Global Policy, Rainforest Alliance, and a member of the GRI working group on the standard, said:
“Companies in the agriculture sector must play a key role in the achievement of global goals for climate, forests, human rights, and sustainable development. By providing a comprehensive blueprint for standardized reporting on progress toward these goals, in alignment with the Accountability Framework and other guidance, GRI enables downstream buyers, investors, financiers, civil society organizations and other stakeholders to gather the information they need to make informed decisions related to company performance.”
According to the GRI, the new standard, ‘GRI 13: Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fishing Sectors 2022,’ includes new disclosures for the sectors on food security, land and resource rights, living wage and income, natural ecosystem conversion, animal welfare, soil health, and pesticides, and supports companies in the sectors in making connections between their impacts and all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The release of the new standard follows the publication last year of GRI’s first sector standard, targeting the oil and gas sector, followed by a coal sector standard earlier this year. The organization has plans to release additional sector standards going forward, including mining, textiles & apparel, and food & beverage. The standards form part of GRI’s modular system of reporting, with organizations starting with the GRI’s Universal Standards, updated last year, and then using the sector standards to determine and report on material topics.
Judy Kuszewski, Chair of the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), the independent entity that sets the GRI Standards, said:
“There is a paradox in that the ways we produce the food and materials that a growing population requires also result in numerous economic, Environmental criteria consider how a company performs as a steward of nature. More and Social criteria examine how it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates. More impacts – which in turn put at risk the future viability of world food systems. Addressing this challenge requires concerted, global and multi-stakeholder action.
“It’s clear that ‘business as usual’ by companies will not result in the sustainability transformation we need to see. Shining the spotlight on the most significant impacts of organizations involved in crop cultivation, animal production, fishing or aquaculture, GRI 13 brings the clarity and consistency needed to inform responsible decision making.”
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