A Summary of the New Waste Reporting Standard - GRI 306: Waste 2020

Inadequate waste management has become a major environmental, economic and public health problem. According to the World Bank, 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste is generated annually, with at least 33% not being managed in an environmentally safe manner. Additionally, the World Bank also announced in September 2018 that global waste production is predicted to rise by 70% by 2050 unless we take urgent action. 

Thus, it comes at no better time that the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), one of the leading organizations for universal standards of sustainability reporting, has launched a new standard for waste management. The new version of the GRI’s Waste Standard – GRI 306: Waste 2020 – which was published in May 2020 and will be freely available for any organization around the world to use to understand and disclose their waste impacts. This standard was developed with the intention to update the current GRI 306 and ensure it reflects the current global best practice for waste management and reporting. In this blog we have summarized everything you need to know about the new standard – and how it can benefit your business. 

best practice for measuring and reporting on waste

According to Judy Kuszewski, the chair of the Global Sustainability Standards Boards, the new waste standard is what the world needs. “It reflects the transition from an outdated ‘take, make, waste’ industrial model to one that designs out waste and minimizes its impacts,” she explains. It changes how companies measure and understand waste, providing them with the right tools to respond to global demands. The standard both encourages businesses to prevent waste at source and to unlock opportunities for circular business practices. It is, according to the board, the best practice for measuring and reporting on waste.

Key features of GRI 306: Waste 2020

  • Helps provide a comprehensive overview of waste-related impacts of activities, products and services. 
  • Introduces a stronger relationship between materials and waste, so as to help organizations understand how procurement, design, and use of materials lead to waste-related impacts.
  • Enables organizations to identify and report on circularity and waste prevention opportunities and actions.
  • Encourages organizations to assess waste generated throughout the value chain, prompting them to recognize responsibility for waste-related impacts upstream and downstream.
  • Helps identify management decisions and actions that can lead to a systemic change. 

why should businesses use the waste standard?

The traditional linear economy, or “take-make-dispose”-plan, have been argued to create economic value by producing and selling as many products as possible. However, the economic gains can’t be seen without considering the total cost of business waste. Waste – when a product is made but is unsellable – is not only harmful for the environment, but also costs the business. 

The co-founder of the Renewal Workshop - a workshop that partners with the world's best - loved brands to renew their “unsellable” returns explains that “ 1–3% of a brand’s total production is wasted. At 100 million units per year for a big brand, the scale of 1–3%waste becomes huge. And, the larger the brand is, the more complicated their business operations, which means that rate can increase to as high as 5%."

According to the GRI, businesses and organizations that use GRI 303: Waste 2020 as their waste standard will be able to:

  • Demonstrate how they are adopting a holistic, responsible, and progressive approach to waste management. 
  • Improve transparency on the status of waste generation and management globally. 
  • Enable stakeholders make informed judgments about an organization’s waste management practices and ambitions.
  • Support the transition to a circular economy. 

No Wasted opportunities

Take control of your data and create a smart sustainability reporting process, aligned with globally known frameworks such as GRI. Worldfavor makes it easy to manage sustainability performance and get an overview of your data, Thanks to automating data collection and analyses based on relevant frameworks. Reach your goals, regardless where you are on your sustainability journey and communicate your approach to stakeholders. Read more about our Sustainability Management solution here!

Curious to learn more? GRI has organized two webinars in June on the new Waste Standard – book your spot today! 

9 June: A waste standard for the post-pandemic world: How COVID-19 has impacted waste management globally, and role of GRI 306 to enable transparent reporting and stakeholder engagement. 

11 June: Waste reporting – a gateway to the circular transition: Importance of circularity for business resilience and the tools that can help (as provided by GRI, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WBCSD). Book here. 

The new standard will be available in Worldfavor. Contact us here to learn more!

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