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GRI at the World Resources Forum
Global material and resource use will more than double in this century, but physically this is impossible with the limits of our planet. Our current production and consumption systems are not fit for purpose, and our long-term needs are ignored in the design and management of these systems. The world is looking to a more circular approach, and last month GRI joined the conversation at the World Resources Forum (WRF) “Closing Loops – Transitions at Work” in Antwerp, hosting a workshop on the forthcoming revision of GRI’s Waste Disclosures.
This WRF conference highlighted the fundamental role of the circular economy in addressing climate change. The way we deal with and handle materials (extraction-production-transportation-waste) has a direct bearing on climate change – for example, recycling 1kg of materials rather than sending them to landfill can save 5kg of CO2.
The circular economy is a new paradigm that requires us to fundamentally rethink how we produce and consume goods, and in particular how we design material cycles in a way that materials can continue to cycle indefinitely, preventing us from producing waste in the first place.
Speaking at the WRF, Dr. Janez Potocnik said, “we need to fix the broken compass and the circular economy helps lay the foundation for a consumption and production model that integrates all pillars of sustainability.”
Six months ago, the Global Standards Sustainability Board (the GSSB), GRI’s independent standard-setting body, and the Waste Project Working Group started the revision of the Waste Disclosures in the GRI 306: Effluents and Waste Standard. The aim was to bring forward the fundamental shift we need in business perspective and reporting on waste.
During a workshop at the WRF, the team at GRI working on the Waste revisions presented some of the draft work to calibrate its direction with the audience. Participants generally supported the proposed revisions and gave some further insights into the needs of report users and reporters.
For example, participants highlighted that users want to understand the profile of waste that an organization is handling – is it hazardous? How much is there? They also want to understand how the organization is managing the waste, as well as what happens to it once it leaves the organization. They want to know what targets the organization has, and how it plans to meet them. The participants were also interested in data credibility. And, importantly, they wanted reporters to share how the organizations are engaged in circularity to manage waste-related impacts and prevent waste generation.