Waste as an opportunity – GRI publishes 306: Waste Standard

Constanze Illner CSR & Responsible Sourcing, Environment

How much does it cost to dispose of a ton of waste? The short answer is: more and more. For waste-intensive industries, waste is one of the main operating costs. Reason enough to change the perspective, to tackle the problem at the root and to see garbage no longer as waste but as an opportunity. The new GRI 306: Waste 2020 standard can help you in this respect.

If not properly disposed, waste can have a significant negative impact on the environment and human health – across borders. When waste is incinerated or landfilled, the resources and materials it contains are lost for future use, which accelerates its exploitation.

Accordingly, waste is not only a problem for our society, but also for companies, for example if customers prefer products that produce less waste, if resources become scarce or the costs of disposal continue to rise.

Address problems with GRI 306: Waste

When it comes to sustainability reporting, many follow the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The basis of the reporting is a set of modular, interrelated reporting standards, consisting of 3 general standards and 34 topic-specific standards. One of these topics is – you guessed it – waste.

Waste can arise from the activities of the company itself, for example in the manufacture of products and the provision of services. Waste can of course also be generated by upstream and downstream companies in the company’s value chain. All of these dimensions are carefully examined when reporting in accordance with GRI 306: Waste.

Companies that have recognized waste as a key issue are required to report and manage their waste-related effects when reporting in accordance with the GRI standards. GRI 306: Waste 2020 was developed for this purpose. It is the first globally applicable tool for organizations to report and communicate on their waste impacts.

The Waste Standard introduces a stronger relationship between materials and waste, in order to assist reporters in identifying and managing their waste-related practices and impacts throughout their value chain. By including updated disclosures, circularity and waste prevention concepts, GRI 306: Waste reflects global best practices on waste management.

New insights with GRI 306: Waste

Using the standard, companies can:

  • Understand and publicly report how procurement, design and use of materials lead to waste-related impacts.
  • Provide comprehensive insights into the quantity and quality of waste – including its causes,
    where it is generated and how impacts are managed.
  • Identify and report on circularity and waste prevention opportunities and actions.
  • Assess and take responsibility for waste generated throughout the value chain, both upstream and downstream.

You can download the standard here.

Time schedule

The Waste Standard updates, expands and replaces GRI 306: Effluents & Waste 2016. It is applicable for organizations of all sizes, wherever they are in their waste management and reporting practice.

GRI 306: Waste comes into force on January 1, 2022. This means that reports published as of January 1, 2022 that identify waste as a key issue must take the standard into account. Earlier implementation is possible and GRI explicitly requests it.

What DQS can do for you

DQS is a licensed auditor for sustainability reporting. An external audit by DQS confirms the credibility and appropriateness of your sustainability report.

Contact us, we would be happy to discuss your project! You can find the latest news about sustainability in our monthly newsletter.

Constanze Illner Administrator
Constanze Illner is Research & Communication Officer at DQS CFS GmbH
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Constanze Illner Administrator
Constanze Illner is Research & Communication Officer at DQS CFS GmbH
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