GRI consults on improved climate and energy standards

Disclosure of adaptation plans now included

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has published draft revised standards on climate change and energy ahead of COP28 climate talks starting next week.

Revising and reviewing existing standards is intended to take them beyond energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The climate change standard is aimed at helping businesses and other organisations disclose:

  • Climate change transition and adaptation plans and actions
  • Annual progress on emissions reduction targets
  • Rationale for use of carbon credits and greenhouse gas removals

Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), the independent body that sets the GRI standards, noted principles of a just transition have been incorporated. The social aspect of climate change has been included in the tool with an emphasis on the impacts on workers, communities and vulnerable groups.

According to the draft, just transition metrics include “the number of jobs created, eliminated, and redeployed due to the transition plan, the number of employees that received training for up- and reskilling and the locations where the organisation’s transition plan has impacts on local communities and Indigenous Peoples”.

Organisations are also required to report impacts of the transition plan on biodiversity.

In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, those using the disclosure will need to explain how progress on reduction targets was achieved and whether it was intentional, a secondary effect or due other actors or external factors.

Organisations will also be able to use the energy standard to disclose how they are:

  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Achieving energy efficiency
  • Sourcing renewable energy

Notably, there will now be a requirement to break down significant energy consumption in the value chain by upstream and downstream Scope 3 categories.

“This information will raise awareness on the organisation’s value chain while enhancing transparency on data disclosed,” the draft energy standard stated.

Carol Adams (pictured), GSSB chair, said climate change threatens humanity and the planet and there is increasing demand for more information on how organisations are reducing greenhouse gases and how they are mitigating and adapting to climate change.

“The review by GRI of climate change-related standards reflects stakeholder expectations, including from investors. In advance of crucial decisions and new commitments being made at COP28, it’s significant that these exposure drafts are available for consultation, paving the way for robust and globally comparable reporting by organisations on their climate change and energy-related impacts.”

Feedback on both standards is open until 29 February 2024.