In 2018, the GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines were superseded by the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards (GRI standards).
This Metric is part of a standard set of indicators outlined in the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standard (GRI Standards) Guidelines. These Standards are designed to be used by organizations to report about their impacts on the economy, the environment, and society. The full set can be downloaded at www.globalreporting.org/standards/.
For this metric covering Water discharge by quality and destination, the code G4-EN22 is used in company reporting prior to 2018, and the new code GRI 306-1 is used in reporting from 2018 onwards. The methodology for the former G4 standard for this metric can be found here.
In the context of the GRI Standards, the environmental dimension of sustainability concerns an organization’s impacts on living and non-living natural systems, including land, air, water, and ecosystems. GRI 306 addresses the topic of effluents and waste. This includes water discharges; the generation, treatment and disposal of waste; and spills of chemicals, oils, fuels, and other substances.
The disclosures in this Standard can provide information about an organization’s impacts related to effluents and waste, and how it manages these impacts. The unmanaged discharge of effluents with a high chemical or nutrient load (principally nitrogen, phosphorous, or potassium) can affect aquatic habitats, the quality of an available water supply, and an organization’s relationship with communities and other water users.
The generation, treatment and disposal of waste – including its improper transportation – can also pose harm to human health and the environment. This is of particular concern if waste is transported to countries lacking the infrastructure and regulations to handle it.
These concepts are covered by the Basel and Ramsar Conventions, and in key instruments of the International Maritime Organization.