Topic Standard for Water and Effluents

Access to fresh water is essential for human life and wellbeing and is an internationally recognized human right.

The importance of this Standard

Through a deep understanding of their water use, organizations can assess the impacts they have on water resources that benefit the ecosystem, other water users, and the organization itself. This, in turn, informs effective water management.

GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018 will be effective for reports and other materials published on or after 1 January 2021. 

Basis for conclusions

A first exposure draft of the updated Water and Effluents Standard was made available for a 60-day public comment period between 10 August to 9 October 2017.  

Following revisions based on the received comments, a second exposure draft was made available for a 60-day public comment period between 20 December 2017 to 18 February 2018.  

The GSSB Basis for conclusions provides a summary of the public comments received. It also provides a summary of how the GSSB responded to these comments in finalizing the Standard.

First public comment period 

Full set of public feedback for GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018 – Public Comment Period 10 August – 9 October 2017 

Basis for conclusions for GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018 - Public Comment Period 10 August – 9 October 2017  

Second public comment period 

Full set of public feedback for GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018 – Public Comment Period 20 December 2017 – 18 February 2018 

Basis for conclusions for GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018 - Public Comment Period 20 December 2017 – 18 February 2018  


About the project

In 2016, the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), GRI's independent standard-setting body, initiated a project to review and update GRI 303: Water 2016. The aim of this project was to ensure that the standard aligns with internationally agreed best practice and reflects recent developments in water management and reporting.  

A multi-stakeholder Water Working Group appointed by the GSSB began its work on the project in December 2017. Two public comment periods were held for the project. All received comments were considered by the Water Working Group and the GSSB. 

In April 2018, the GSSB approved the updated Standard  GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018. The project followed the GSSB Due Process Protocol, the implementation of which was overseen by the Due Process Oversight Committee. 

Want to know more

  • Listen to our podcast in which we talk with Paul Reig from the World Resources Institute on the current state of water stewardship reporting.  

Related documents

Linking GRI and CDP: Water and Effluents file 01 Sep 2018 English 2.3 MB
GRI 303 Water project working group members file 19 Sep 2020 English 856 KB
GRI Topic Standards Project for Water – Project proposal file 19 Sep 2020 English 365 KB
GRI Topic Standards Project for Water – Second exposure draft file 19 Sep 2020 English 1.3 MB
GRI Topic Standards Project for Water – Working group terms of reference file 19 Sep 2020 English 533 KB
GSSB Due Process Protocol 2018 file 18 Oct 2018 English 213 KB
GSSB Terms of Reference file 18 Oct 2018 English 108 KB
GSSB Work Program 2020-2022 file 01 Dec 2020 English 221 KB
Water and Effluents Topic Standard FAQs file 16 Jan 2023 English 123 KB

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