“While the essential role of the agriculture, aquaculture and fishing sectors in feeding the world is clear to see, clarity on their impacts is not. Use of lands and seas face ever-competing demands, while biodiversity loss and the urgency of climate adaptation demonstrate why greater transparency is essential. In addition, with a third of the global population relying on the sectors for their livelihoods, their impacts on economic development and human rights should not be underestimated,” notes Global Reporting Initiative, in a press release.

GRI 13: Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fishing Sectors 2022 is the first global and holistic sustainability reporting standard for all companies in the upstream production of crops, animals and seafood, setting expectations for disclosure of their shared and distinct impacts. It addresses:

  • The topics likely to be material for any agriculture, aquaculture or fishing organisation, based on the impacts of these sectors;
  • New disclosures on food security, land and resource rights, living wage and income, natural ecosystem conversion, animal welfare, soil health, and pesticide use;
  • The multiplying effect of the sectors when it comes to the SDGs – supporting companies to make the connections between their impacts and all 17 Global Goals;
  • Policy implications for responsible business, based on international frameworks – as set by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Labour Organization (ILO), International Maritime Organization (IMO) and others.

“There is a paradox in that the ways we produce the food and materials that a growing population requires also result in numerous economic, environmental and social impacts – which in turn put at risk the future viability of world food systems. Addressing this challenge requires concerted, global and multi-stakeholder action. It’s clear that ‘business as usual’ by companies will not result in the sustainability transformation we need to see,” said Judy Kuszewski, chair of the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), the independent entity that sets the GRI Standards.

“Shining the spotlight on the most significant impacts of organizations involved in crop cultivation, animal production, fishing or aquaculture, GRI 13 brings the clarity and consistency needed to inform responsible decision making. From safeguarding migrant workers to tackling overfishing, cutting emissions to halting deforestation, GRI’s Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fishing Standard has an enabling role in charting the pathway to a sustainable future for these sectors,” she added.

GRI 13 was developed by a 19-member multi-stakeholder working group, with agriculture, aquaculture and fishing organisations represented alongside investors, civil society, mediating institutions and labour bodies.

Jacqui Dixon, technical advisor for Hong Kong Sustainable Seafood Coalition said: “The aquaculture and fishing sectors face unique sustainability challenges and we welcome the Sector Standard from GRI as a guide to reporters on what can be considered most material to these industries. A common approach to reporting will not only ensure these concerns are monitored and documented at a much larger scale, but will also enable comparability between reporters to ultimately move the industries forward on best practice.”

On 30 June (15:30 CEST), a virtual launch event for GRI 13 takes place, with perspectives shared by GRI, OECD, FAO and WBA. Attendance is free of charge, with advance booking required.

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