GRI Standards: Update on the Revised Standards for Water, Occupational Health and Safety

GRI Standards: Update on the Revised Standards for Water, Occupational Health and Safety

The modular GRI Standards make it possible to revise individual Standards and Indicators. GRI has now updated the first two Standards: 'GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018' and 'GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety 2018'.

The revision of GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018 and GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety 2018 gives an insight into how GRI is further developing the Standards and Indicators.

Expanding the requirements for management approach
GRI has revised the Standards in order to ensure the connection to international frameworks. As a result, the indicators have been adjusted significantly and the requirements for the management approach have been expanded.
In addition to the general management approach GRI 103, topic-specific requirements for the management approach must now also be reported. Both GRI 303 and GRI 403 contain two parts:

    Topic-specific requirements for the management approach: They must all be reported if the topic has been identified as an essential topic.
  • In GRI 303 they consist of 303-1 und 303-2
  • In GRI 403 they consist of 403-1 bis 403-7
    Indicators: At least one must be reported (core option).

The revised Standards are only binding from 1 January 2021, though GRI recommends an earlier conver-sion. If necessary, reasons of omission can be declared. For first-time reporting organizations it is recom-mendable to consider the new Standards from the beginning.

‘GRI 303: Water 2016’ becomes ‘GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018’
A new issue in GRI 303 is wastewater. This was previously integrated in GRI 306: Effluents and Waste. The revised Standard is aligned with the requirements of the CEO Water Mandate Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines, the CDP Water Questionnaire 2018 and the Sustainable Development Goals. This is why organi-zations have to consider the water stress in their region and report on water quality.

GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety 2018
The requirements for the management approach are even more detailed for GRI 403 than for GRI 303. Seven specific questions have to be answered accordingly. What kind of hazards and risks exist, how they are determined and how the hierarchy of control is used to minimize risks. In addition to reporting on em-ployees, a break-down by “other workers”, whose work (workplace) is controlled by the organization, is re-quired. The new indicators focus on the impact on employee health rather than on company productivity.

Implications for users
The revision of the Standards entails the following consequences for reporting organizations:

  1. expand the management approach to implement the additional requirements or justify their omission;
  2. determine the appropriate indicators;
  3. adjust the data collection to the new requirements.