Meeting ESG Goals with Effective GRI Reporting
Blog | June 15th, 2023

Meeting ESG Goals with Effective GRI Reporting

ESG (Environment, Sustainability, and Governance) goals are becoming a part of the corporate parlance as reporting standards become more stringent. Today, several stakeholders including investors and customers are looking to support, partner, and engage with companies that are sustainable and environmentally conscious. Of course, it has also become clear that if you’re looking to build an enterprise for the long term – keeping in mind the needs of society and the environment has become absolutely essential.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) focuses on corporate social responsibility and gives equal weight to all three ESG factors, covering aspects such as energy and water consumption, waste generation, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, procurement, and product sourcing. Workforce safety and labor conditions also form an important part of the GRI framework.

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This move towards achieving ESG objectives has brought about a change in the approach to what was traditionally called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which aimed at giving back to society. Now it is all about sustainability, which has been the function of the environment, safety, and health department of organizations. As a result, EHS and sustainability management have become unified. The GRI standards also govern workplace safety and EHS reporting, further “bringing together” sustainability and safety functions.

Benefits of Adopting the GRI Framework

The GRI Standards have a broad scope that enables organizations to monitor and manage their activities to minimize the impact on the economy, environment, and society while improving human rights and workplace safety. The standards are grouped into three modules: Universal, Sector Standards, and Topic Standards. Nearly 73% of the world’s largest companies use GRI reporting because of the following reasons:

  • Global Reporting Language — The use of a global reporting language to enable all stakeholders to share a common understanding of the sustainability efforts of the organization.
  • Benchmarking — Competing companies can compare performance with each other due to transparency and accuracy of reporting.
  • Measuring KPIs — It facilitates the efficient calculation of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a deeper understanding of the impacts of ESG efforts.

Further, the GRI topic standards cover 34 categories, with occupational health and safety being one of them.

The EHS aspects of GRI reporting facilitate a better understanding and management of safety-related factors.

This is made possible by

  • Faster identification and mitigation of risks
  • Tapping new opportunities for improving safety
  • Transparency and data visibility

GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety Reporting

Workplace health and safety is considered a human right and is addressed under GRI 403. Promoting health and preventing harm are the two broad pillars on which global safety standards rest, including GRI 403. Health and safety are not just a function of the safety leaders and the top management but also require workers to be engaged in the development, implementation, and performance evaluation of the safety policy and implementation of management systems/programs. This includes identification of hazards, risk assessment, worker training, and identification and investigation of incidents. The term worker covers employees, contractors, and temporary staff.

Reporting Requirement #1

One of the primary reporting requirements of GRI 403 is to provide information related to:

  • The occupational health and safety management system that has been implemented in the organization
  • The standards and guidelines it is aligned with
  • Whether it is risk-based
  • The scope of the activities and roles covered by the system
  • The explanation for those areas and workers not covered under the system

Reporting Requirement #2

The second aspect of the reporting requirement is regarding hazard identification, risk assessment, and incident investigation including:

  • The quality of the safety processes and the competency of those responsible for them
  • Continuous improvement of the safety management system
  • Procedure for sharing information on work-related hazards and hazardous situations with workers and controls to mitigate them
  • Sharing information on safety behavior
  • Incident investigation
  • Corrective actions
  • Prevention of future recurrence

Reporting Requirement #3

The organizations must also report on the functions of the occupational health services that enable the identification and elimination of hazards and mitigation of risks. This must include the qualifications and accreditations of the people assigned to manage the safety function, legal requirements, and/or recognized standards/guidelines they comply with. This should also include information on providing workers with access to occupational health services such as

  • whether it is available in the workplace and during working hours
  • whether transportation to health clinics is made available or whether the service is expedited when needed
  • whether information about the available services has been provided to the workers in a language they understand
  • Whether workloads are adjusted to enable workers to avail these services

The metrics used to evaluate the effectiveness of these services must also be provided along with information on how awareness is created among the workers and worker participation ensured.

Reporting Requirement #4

This details the role of workers in safety management, the elimination of any hurdles to their participation, the communication of relevant information, and the formation of joint management-worker health and safety committees.

Reporting Requirement #5

Worker training on occupational health and safety forms an important part of safety management. GRI 403 requires organizations to report the training provided, how the training needs are assessed; how it is designed and delivered, and how the effectiveness is evaluated.

Reporting Requirement #6

This requires organizations to report providing workers with access to non-occupational medical and healthcare services to wellness programs for non-work-related major health risks. This could be protection from financial risk, providing access to quality essential healthcare services; and essential medicines and vaccines at affordable rates.

Reporting Requirement #7

EHS reporting must include measures for prevention and mitigation of occupational health and safety impacts of business relationships where the organization has no control over the work or workplace, such as in the case of outsourcing. The business is still mandated to ensure the safety of such workplaces and tasks and put preventive measures in place.

GRI encourages a systems-based approach where occupational health and safety management is integrated with the overall business processes, using a ‘plan-do-check-act’ cycle, with leadership involvement and total employee participation. It lays stress on proactive safety management through audits, and reporting of work-related injuries and fatalities with complete details such as the number and rate of recordable work-related injuries, the main types of injuries, fatalities, and so on.

ComplianceQuest EHS Solution is aligned with ISO and GRI requirements for safety reporting. It helps businesses automate the end-to-end safety management workflow and provides easy access to relevant information for accurate and timely reporting. It also helps businesses meet the GRI requirements of total employee engagement, incident investigation, proactive safety management through periodic audits and inspections, and continuous improvement through root cause analysis, tracking safety management metrics, and empowering management with enterprise-wide safety data for review and rectification.

To know more about the ComplianceQuest EHS reporting features, request a demo:

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