Frequently asked questions - GRI 306: Waste 2020

Why has GRI revised the waste-related disclosures in GRI 306: Waste 2020?

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12 places responsible production and consumption central to sustainable development, and calls on organizations to use natural resources efficiently, implement environmentally sound waste management, and prevent and reduce waste through reuse and recycling. Along with a projected increase in waste generation worldwide, the UN notes the critical environmental, social, and human health impacts of specific waste streams, such as plastics, food waste, and e-waste.

Stakeholders increasingly recognize that focus has been almost entirely on the impacts of the production phase. However, impacts such as the pollution of marine ecosystems with plastic waste, or the growing volumes of e-waste, make it evident that for many organizations waste impacts relate to the end of life of their products. Organizations want to know if they are causing or contributing to any waste-related impacts upstream or downstream in their value chains and how they are taking responsibility for waste throughout the value chain.

To reflect these developments and ensure the GRI Standards continue to represent internationally agreed best practice, the GSSB decided to update the waste-related disclosures in GRI 306 (2020).

Please see the Project proposal for the review of GRI Waste Disclosures for more information.

What was the process for the development of GRI 306: Waste 2020?

The development process of GRI 306 (2020) was overseen by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), GRI’s independent standard-setting body, following the Due Process Protocol.

The Standard was developed in the public interest through a transparent and inclusive process. The content was developed by a multi-stakeholder project working group that comprised leading waste management experts and practitioners from diverse constituencies around the world, including business, civil society, investors, and mediating institutions.

Between May and July 2019, an exposure draft of the Standard was made available for public comment. Over 60 submissions were received from individuals and organizations across business, investment institutions, civil society, labor, and mediating institutions. 

For more information about the development process of GRI 306 (2020) please visit the project page.

How was feedback on the exposure draft of GRI 306: Waste 2020 addressed?

In line with the Due Process Protocol, an exposure draft of GRI 306: Waste was released for public comment between May and July 2019. All comments received during the public comment period were considered by the project working group and the GSSB. The Basis for Conclusions outlines the main themes identified from public comments and how the GSSB responded to these comments.

Please visit the project page for the GSSB Basis for Conclusions and for the full set of comments received on the exposure draft.

When will GRI 306: Waste 2020 come into effect? Can reporting organizations start using it now?

GRI 306 (2020) will be effective for reports or other materials published on or after 1 January 2022. This means that if the reporting organization has identified waste as a material topic, it will be required to report on GRI 306 (2020) from 1 January 2022 onwards.

Earlier adoption of GRI 306 (2020) is encouraged, even if a reporting organization cannot as yet meet all the requirements. If the organization is currently unable to report the required information for a disclosure, it may use reasons for omission in the meantime. 

GRI 306: Effluents and Waste 2016 can continue to be used for reports or other materials if they are published on or before 31 December 2021.

An organization using GRI 306 (2020) for the first time is advised to start reporting with GRI 306 (2020).  

How do I use GRI 306: Waste 2020?

When an organization has identified waste as a material topic, it is required to report the following:

Management approach disclosures (both Core and Comprehensive options)

In exceptional cases, if an organization cannot report on some of these management approach disclosures, it can use reasons for omission. Reasons for omission are not permitted for Disclosure 103-1.

Topic-specific disclosures:

GRI 306 (2020) includes three topic-specific disclosures: Disclosures 306-3, 306-4, and 306-5. The number of topic-specific disclosures to be reported on depends on whether an organization has chosen the Core or Comprehensive option for reporting, in accordance with the GRI Standards: 

  • If an organization prepares its report in accordance with the Core option, it is required to report on at least one of these topic-specific disclosures (Disclosure 306-3, 306-4, or 306-5);
  • If an organization prepares its report in accordance with the Comprehensive option, it is required to report on all three topic-specific disclosures.

Reasons for omission are permitted for all topic-specific disclosures if, in exceptional cases, the organization cannot report on these. 

Please consult Table 1 in GRI 101: Foundation for the complete set of criteria for reporting in accordance with the GRI Standards.

Is GRI 306: Waste 2020 available in other languages?

The authoritative text of the GRI Standards is English, but translations of GRI 306 (2020) in key languages will become available later in 2020. The first of these, in Spanish, is expected to be released in July 2020. Please consult the GRI Translations page or contact translations@globalreporting.org for more information on the upcoming translation schedule.