Sharper focus on sustainability in sectors

Published date: 19 May 2021

Public comment open for two draft GRI Sector Standards – covering agriculture, aquaculture, fishing, and coal

A consultation has launched to gather feedback on two proposed new Standards under GRI’s Sector Program, which will increase transparency within sectors by focusing attention on the sustainability issues that matter most.

Adding to the Oil and Gas Sector Standard, which is currently being finalized, the GRI Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB) has announced exposure drafts for:

  • An Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fishing Sector Standard, covering impacts on biodiversity and natural ecosystems; climate change adaptation; plant and animal health; food security and safety; economic inclusion; and labor standards.
  • A Coal Sector Standard, addressing how companies respond to the low-carbon transition, while highlighting impacts on local communities; management of environmental risks; payment transparency; and disclosure on ownership.

The public comment period for the two draft Standards – now open until 30 July – aims to ensure they deliver the global best practice for sustainability reporting in these sectors. The exposure drafts have been independently developed by expert groups, taking account of intergovernmental instruments and sector-related evidence.

Inclusive and multi-stakeholder engagement is at the heart of GRI’s standard setting, therefore I encourage organizations and individuals from around the world to contribute to the public comment period for these two draft Sector Standards. Standards for coal, agriculture, aquaculture and fishing are among those being prioritized because these sectors have significant impacts – on areas such as climate change, biodiversity and human rights. Yet our ambition goes much further, with future plans for Standards that cover all major sectors. The Sector Program will enhance the GRI Standards by helping companies within sectors deliver consistent and decision-useful reporting, while encouraging dialogue with other organizations and stakeholders on how to address shared sustainability challenges.”

Judy Kuszewski, Chair of the GSSB

The public comment period is an opportunity to provide feedback on the clarity, feasibility, completeness and relevancy of the content in the exposure drafts. Final versions of the two new Standards are to publish in 2022.

To learn more about the draft Sector Standards, register to attend a free webinar:

The GRI Sector Program will develop standards for 40 sectors, starting with those that have the highest impact on sustainable development, provide raw materials and/or address basic societal needs.

Initially, oil, gas and coal were to be covered by one Standard before a decision was reached by the GSSB to proceed with two Standards. An Oil, Gas and Coal Working Group developed the exposure drafts for both. The draft Oil and Gas Sector Standard was released for public comment in July 2020 with a final version expected later this year.

Multi-stakeholder and international representatives are included in the 19-member Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fishing Working Group with diverse expertise in growing crops, animal production, fish and shellfish farming, fishing wild catch and aquatic resources.

The updated Universal Standards, to launch later this year, will be the starting point for all GRI reporting before organizations identify their material topics through the applicable Sector Standard(s).