Relation to international standards and initiatives
GSES has a META approach and we offer a comprehensive framework and tools, thus the GSES- system has more impact than more limited initiatives. The NDI continuously seeks connections with other parties and does not fight other methodologies and initiatives. GSES is open-source because for NDI sustainability can only thrive in an environment of sharing and partnerships (SDG17).
The structure of the five GSES pillars has been brought into line with the structure of ISO High Level Structure, easy to integrate for organizations that already work with ISO 9001: 2015.
The Global Reporting Initiative is a non-profit organization that promotes economic sustainability. It develops the GRI Standards for sustainability reporting, which enable organizations to measure and understand their most critical impacts on the environment, society and the economy. The framework is widely used around the world to enhance organizational transparency.
In the GSES-system, both the Corporate Sustainable Responsibility pillar (based on ISO 26000) and the Sustainable Procurement pillar (based on ISO 20400) are fully aligned with GRI – as the developers of ISO 26000 and GRI have closely worked together for six years to align the systems.
The materiality approach of GRI corresponds to the relevance / significance / priority approach of ISO 26000 and ISO 20400, as well as the GSES CSR and SP pillars. Materiality assessments are the backbone of sustainability reporting, as they help identify an organization’s most material issues and determine what should be reported.
In fact, the CSR and SP pillars of the GSES-system are fully in line with the GRI Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This means that an organization that already uses GRI can quickly find its way within the prioritization, stakeholder communication and sustainability reporting of GSES. Conversely, GSES users can benefit from knowledge of the GRI indicators.
However, the GSES-system can be used without in-depth knowledge of the GRI standards, as the GSES is smart tool, which incorporates all relevant parts of GRI.
The OECD has developed Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct, which provides practical support to enterprises on the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. These are guidelines for companies on how to deal with issues such as supply chain responsibility, human rights, child labor, the environment and corruption.
GSES applies the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct to its five pillars and supply chain approach.
The NDI and SGS Search co-developed the Circular Footprint (CF), part of the umbrella Sustainable Footprint. End users of products and projects can see exactly how circular their end product is by scanning a QR code or NFC tag.
The CF is generic, workable, scalable and based on existing standards such as Cradle to Cradle (C2C) and EMF of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Differences between CF and EMF include:
- The distinction between product components in the supply chain and the product itself makes it possible to determine the index in complex chains. The CPF index can be determined for a (product) component. This index can be passed on in the chain, so that ultimately the total CF index for the product can be determined. This provides a scalable CF index determination, which can be calculated in this way for complex systems. This is not possible with the EMF and C2C standard;
- The CF takes production waste / loss into consideration;
- In another comparison with EMF: CF includes recyclable and compostable material;
- In contrast to EMF, CF does not take the lifespan into account, because claims regarding the lifetime are difficult to prove. Moreover, they are highly dependent on the use and user. The NDI is currently working to include the time element in its CFs.
The GSES Circular Footprint index is based on the circularity index of the
Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) and the Cradle to Cradle standard.
Differences between CF and EMF include:
• The Cradle to Cradle standard includes five categories: material health, reuse of materials, renewable energy, water management and social justice. The CF deals solely with the second category of C2C: reuse of materials.
• C2C doubles the performance value at the end of the “W” cycle, while CF and EMF do not.
• C2C makes certain biodegradable forms possible.
The 17 Sustainability Goals of the United Nations Agenda 2030 provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. GSES provides insight into your organization’s contribution to these sustainability goals and sub-goals (targets) of the UN. Each of your sustainability efforts, which increase your score on the five GSES pillars (CSR, SP, CO2 reduction, Circular Economy, and Health & Safety) and the Sustainable Footprints, also contribute to one or more sustainability goals of the UN.
The CO2 pillar in the GSES System is based on ISO 14064-1: 2012 Guidance at the organization level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals. This ISO standard contains requirements for design, development, management, reporting and verification of the greenhouse gas emissions ‘accounting’ of the organization.
Organizations that already have a valid CO2 Prestatieladder certificate also automatically receive points on the GSES CO2 pillar and, depending on the level of the certificate, even an exemption on the GSES CO2 pillar.
The CSR pillar in the GSES System is based on ISO 26000 guidelines, the HLS, GRI and OECD guidelines. Because the MVO Prestatieladder offers a practical addition to the ISO 26000 guideline, the CSR performance ladder is included as an exemption in the GSES System. The MVO prestatieladder is included in the Sustainable MetaStandard that is integrated into the GSES System. Therefore organizations that already have a valid MVO Prestatieladder certificate automatically receive points (and even exemptions) for the score on the GSES CSR pillar, depending on the level of the certificate.