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Circular Economy - New Global Waste Standard to Drive Business Circularity
20 May 2020

A new global waste standard has been released by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to enable companies to track their waste generation and encourage a shift towards sustainable business practices, writes Olivia Rutherford on resource.



The updated waste standard GRI 306: Waste 2020 was developed by GRI’s multi-stakeholder project working group, overseen by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB).

The waste standard enables companies to “critically assess” their waste generation throughout the value chain. By highlighting the waste-related impacts of activities, products and services, the standard in turn demonstrates the relationship between materials and waste, and how procurement, design and use of materials contribute to waste-related impacts.

By assessing all components of the value chain, GRI hopes its new waste standard will spur a global business drive towards circularity. As companies become aware of their responsibility to prevent waste at source, GRI expects businesses to accordingly instigate systematic change and adopt circular business practices.

Reflecting on the importance of the waste standard in driving circular business practices, Arne Ragossnig of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) commented: “Broadening of the scope will increase sustainability efforts by reporting businesses, underpinning changes across the value chain with positive effects on how waste is generated and managed.”

The GRI waste standard is formed of five disclosures:

Disclosure 306-1: Waste generation and significant waste-related impacts

Disclosure 306-2: Management of significant waste-related impacts Topic-specific disclosures require reporting information about the quantity of waste generated, its composition, and how it is recovered or disposed.

Disclosure 306-3: Waste generated

Disclosure 306-4: Waste diverted from disposal

Disclosure 306-5: Waste directed to disposal

GRI encourages companies to use the waste standard to not only assist in the transition towards a circular economy, but to also improve their transparency regarding waste management and illustrate they are adopting a “holistic, responsible and progressive approach” to stakeholders.

Commenting on the updated waste standard, Tim Mohin, GRI Chief Executive, said: “As the disruption to systems and supply chains caused by Covid-19 has shown, companies need to rethink how they do business if they are to be resilient. The time is right – in fact, overdue – for a shift to more sustainable practices.

“GRI’s new Waste Standard will enable organizations to critically assess waste generation and be a driver for improvement. This is about fundamentally challenging the perception of waste, from an unwanted residue to a valuable resource. Our Waste Standard supports this by providing universally applicable best practice on managing waste impacts in a way that raises ambition for circularity.”

Judy Kuszewski, Chair of the Global Sustainability Standards Board – the independent body responsible for developing and implementing the GRI Standards stated: “This is the disclosure standard that 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.

“The GRI Waste Standard will help any forward-thinking organization demonstrate to stakeholders – such as communities, customers, investors and governments – that they have a holistic and progressive approach to waste.”

GRI is an international organization which intends to help businesses and governments globally understand and communicate their impact on critical sustainability issues. GRI 306: Waste 2020 is now freely available on its website as part of the GRI Standards.