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Sustainability assignment: GRI Standards of Timberwell Construction Company


Task: You are required to watch the following YouTube clips from the GRI Secretariat:
1. The GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards: The Future of Reporting
2. Introducing the GRI Standards
You must also read the case study below based on fictional company Timberwell Constructions.
You must then prepare a sustainability assessment report for Timberwell Constructions

Assessment Case Study
Introduction: Timberwell Constructions is a residential development company that builds apartment complexes in the Stanwell Council district. It employs 58 male staff from the area with different construction related trades and professions. The local market for these workers is highly competitive and Timberwell has had to employ 12 new apprentices in the reporting period because 17 employees have left, mostly to work for rival organisations or establish their own businesses. The company has increased worker pay rates and implemented a monthly rostered day off to try to retain its existing staff.

Fair Work Commission
One employee, Dennis McCabe, resigned from the organisation and filed a workplace harassment claim in the Fair Work Commission. His claim alleged he was discriminated against by his co-workers on the basis of his age. Dennis further alleged that because he was the only worker older than 50 years of age (everybody else is aged between 30 and 50) he was the target of humiliating age related jokes from the others.

The Fair Work Commission upheld Dennis’s claim and ordered Timberwell Constructions to pay him $4,400 in compensation. The Commission also ordered Timberwell to update its anti-discrimination policy and provide anti-discrimination training to all employees. The company has complied with the Commission’s orders.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Dennis also lodged a series of complaints to a number of government authorities about Timberwell’s operations. On the basis of one such complaint, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Timberwell Constructions for alleged anticompetitive conduct involving misuse of market power and exclusive dealings.

The ACCC alleged that Timberwell became aware that a group of local builders were planning to establish a competing development company. In response to this competitive threat, the ACCC alleged senior Timberwell executives told suppliers and contractors that if they were involved with the new development company they would have their business with Timberwell substantially reduced or withdrawn.

The ACCC alleged that Timberwell engaged in this conduct for the purpose of deterring or preventing a new entrant in the development market in the Stanwell district, or substantially lessening competition in that market. The case is listed to be heard by the Federal Court in four months.

State Corruption Commission
Dennis made a separate complaint to the state corruption commission resulting in a public corruption scandal involving five Timberwell employees and two business partners. The complaint alleged that in order to push the company’s development applications through the council approval process, the five employees and two external consultants offered bribes to council project officers. The state corruption commission has charged each of the five employees and one of the external consultants with corruption.

All five employees have been suspended without pay by Timberwell pending the outcome of the prosecutions. Timberwell has also terminated its partnership contracts with the two external consultants.

Department of the Environment and Energy
Dennis also made a separate complaint to the Department of the Environment and Energy. Following an investigation by the Department, Timberwell was fined $200,000 for clearing 0.45 hectares of critically endangered ecological community coastal grasslands.

The cleared area was recognised under the State Planning Scheme as containing important flora and fauna attributes. Timberwell was also ordered to undertake an external review of its vegetation management plan, extend its audit program for contractors, and implement a rehabilitation plan at a cost of no less than $440,000.

Public Relations Campaign
These complaints have drawn a great deal of negative publicity. To bolster its public image, Timberwell Constructions has issued a series of media release intended to demonstrate that the company is a good corporate citizen

The first media release explained how an Environmental Impact Assessment performed on the company’s Otford Park development site discovered that 60% of the site was populated by the rare wallum sedge frog.

The Assessment estimated the medium density residential development proposed for the site would irreversibly convert the habitat and render it inconsistent with the frogs’ survival on the site. Timberwell is working with Stanwell Council and environmental groups to devise a strategy for managing the proposed development of the site and the conservation of the wallum sedge frog.

The second media release explained that Timberwell Constructions is an energy efficient organisation. It included the following energy consumption table for the company in the reporting period based on calculation tools prescribed by the Australian Department of Industry and Science:

Fuel consumption from non-renewable sources 1.0 Gigajoule Fuel consumption from renewable sources 0.5 Gigajoules Electricity consumption 2.0 Gigajoules

Note: 1 Gigajoule = 109 joules

The media release also explained that Timberwell had implemented a program to raise its fuel consumption from renewable resources to at least 50% of its total fuel consumption within the next three years.

The third media release explained the Timberwell Constructions goes to considerable expense to engage local communities, perform impact assessments, and formulate social development programs for all proposed residential developments. These initiatives include Environmental Impact Assessments, local resident meetings, and local community development programs based on the local community’s need for affordable social housing.

The fourth and final media release explained how Timberwell Constructions is working closely with Stanwell Council to comply with the council’s proposed amendments to its Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

In response to the warming effects of climate change and the increased risk of bushfires the Stanwell Council proposes to amend its LEP to rezone specific areas in the Stanwell District as ‘bushfire prone’. The LEP amendment is expected to take effect within 6 weeks.

Any new development in an area identified under the proposed LEP amendment as bushfire prone will be required to meet higher standards of bushfire safety including larger distances between buildings and land boundaries and the use of fire retardant building materials.

Timberwell Constructions has a development site in the Stanwell district that is located in an area that will be rezoned as bushfire prone under the LEP amendment. The new regulations could cost Timberwell as much as $4 million to comply with. The company has engaged an external town planning firm to manage the development application and work with Stanwell Council so as to minimise these potential costs. The town planning firm is charging $50,000 for their services.


The Global Reporting Initiatives discussed in this sustainability assignment is standards of international independency which helps the organization in their business, understanding of other organization and the government. The impact of communication is also maintaining issues like corruption, human rights and the change of climate. Sustainability is considered as a disciplinary of multi-function which contains methods over the appraisal of the complexity of the organization. There exist various aspects that need integrity and the aspects are environmental, social and economic. Assessment tools of sustainability help organizations to take various perfect decisions over the strategy of the workflow. This report is presented the sustainability of Timberwell Construction Company with the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards 2016. The report contains the elaboration of social, environmental and economic sustainability issues along with the disclosure of the GRI Standards. A methodology is also present in that report which stated that secondary research is done here by collecting qualitative and quantitative data of the particular organization.

Background of the report
The three varieties of the sustainability impact of a partials business are an environmental pillar, a social pillar, and the economic pillar. The social pillar covers the area of support and approval for the employee of the organization. The main operation of the social sustainability pillar is done by the stakeholders and the community. The approach of this kind of sustainability is to secure and the maintenance of the various support of the organization. The main objectives of such sustainability are to treat the employees with goods behaviour and the approach over them must be globally and locally in nature (Anundi and Hultman, 2018).

The economical sustainability state the profitable business approach of the organization. The two main activities are included in this sustainable approach and they are risk management and the proper compliance of the government. The management and broad of directors must show inte3rest over the shareholders b of the organization, end-user customers, value chain approach and the community of the organization (Anundi and Hultman, 2018).

The sustainable condition of the environment covers the area of carbon footprints, waste packaging, usage of water and any other effects of the organization over environment. Sustainable condition of environmental approach must reduce those properties which decree the effects of the environment which is done through the organization.

Global reporting Initiative helps every organization to understand the strategies of other organizations, governments and the impact of efficient business strategy. The communications through this standard mitigate the issues like climate change, rights over human and corruption.  The evaluation of the GGRI report within this sustainability assignment is due to the excessive pressure of over organization by the various stakeholder's group like government, impacts of economy and society. However various organizations at that time create a sustainability report. The framework of sustainability report helps to gather information and report them in a very clear and prominent way. In the year of 2017, 63 % of the organization is in worldwide applying for the framework of GRI standards (Bakardjieva 2016).

The GRI standards have various kinds of disclosure which describes the sustainability framework of any organization.

Economic sustainability

Material Topic


Management Approach

Disclosure 201-2

Economic sustainability consists of various important disclosures. This particular disclosure discuss about the opportunities, risk and the financial impacts of a particular organization. Various kinds of emergency situation can be arising and this kind of climate change of organization can also be handled by this disclosure.  This discloser within the sustainability assignment gives beneficial effects over the operation, revenue owing of the organization and the expenditure ( 2019).


According to the case study, the organization named Timberwell construction has to give penalty of $200000 for affecting the communities of ecological platform of costal grassland. Therefore, it is seen that for purpose of construction work the organization waste the particulars area of fauna and flora. Moreover, the organization also gives the penalty of $4400 to the Fair Work commission for failure of the maintenance over workplace discrimination (Lampinen and Prahl 2018).

As per the order of Department of Environment and Energy, the organization arranged for rehabilitation of planning and the costing of that planning is $44000. Moreover as per the instruction of LEP the organization has to be spending various expenditure which is $ 4 million costing. In the town planning the organization gives $50000 and this costing is invested over the business entity.


Disclosure 205-3

As per the standards these disclosures discuss about the corruption of any organization and also the measurement procedure of that corruption. The reported organization has to be submit the case history of the corruption of the organization. This disclosure mentioned in this sustainability assignment also represents the lawsuit over any business entity. Different kinds of dismissal of employees are also described by this disclosure ( 2019).


The organization Timberwell constructions faced a bribery cases due to seeking the favour from office regarding the project work.  The organization also faced various lawsuit due to different corruption of the work place. The corruptions cases are done by five employees of the organization and also two business partner are involved in this situation. The State corruption commission investigate the situation of corruption and five employees along with the external business partners are charged for that corruption (Van Eerd et al. 2019).

In the corruption cases, various legal actions are also taken against the organization. The organization terminate all the employees who are involved in this case without giving their paid salary.


Disclosure 206-1

According to the disclosure, it describes the legal actions of over various antitrust and anti-competitive behaviour. Moreover the monopoly practices are also include in this disclosure. Organization who are considered to report with the disclosure has to be take legal actions against various anti-competitive and antitrust behaviour of the employees and other external members of the organization ( 2019).


According to the case study it is seen that the organization named Timberwell failed to maintain the monopoly of the organization.  Therefore the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission charge the organisation due to such anti-competitive behaviour. Moreover the company was claimed that the contractors and the suppliers give threat to the organisation.  This kind of situation happens for the new entrants of the market. They wants to reflect a negative impact over that particular company (Horner and Wilmshurst 2016).

The organisation is alleged for the development of the anti-competitive situation of the market. The situation of the organisation is managed by then ACCC. According to the complaint of ACCC, legal procedure is taken by the Federal Court Institution (Zametica and Johansson, 2019). The main guilty done by the organisation is anti-competitive practice and the wrong market power.


B. Environmental sustainability 400

Material Topic


Management Approach

Disclosure 307-1

According to the standards reporting organisation has to be maintained the rules and the laws of the environment issues. It is related to the different non sanction issues and the penalties of that organisation. The regulation contains various regulations over environment which produce a healthy environmental framework ( 2019).


The construction procedure creates a huge threat over the wallum sedge frog of the ecological system. It is mentioned in this sustainability assignment that the contraction work also harmed the flora and fauna of that particular region.  Therefore the social reputation of the organisation is also decreased (de Oliveira Bellini et al. 2019).

Company must take the effective strategy over misbehave over environment.  As per the standards organisation has to be taken some legal action over such wastage of environment (Wójcik-Jurkiewicz and Sadowska 2018).


Disclosure 302-1

This disclosure states about the energy used by any organisation and the further requirements of energy along with the information of renewable and non-renewable power consumption. Moreover the cooling, heating and stream consumption is represent by the organisation ( 2019).


The organisation consumes 1.0 gigajoules energy from non-renewable section and renewable source of energy used by them is 0.5 Gigabytes. The consumption amount of electricity through this organisation is 2.0 Gigabytes. Therefore it is seen that organisation breaks the energy consumption regulation of the country.

The organisation has orders to amplify the renewable resources up to 50 % of the entire consumption of fuel. Moreover the organisation committed to achieve the target in next three years.



Disclosure 304-2

The disclosure mentioned in this sustainability assignment states about the implications of the products and the varieties. Various service and the activities over the platform of biodiversity is represent here. This disclosure also describes the needs of concern about the pollution, conservation and the changes over the ecological system. The standards also state about the mitigation procedure of the sustainable condition of any organisation ( 2019).


The organisation also has to give the penalty to the government to use unlawfully the land of the environment. The usage of the lands are totally against the rules of environment. Therefore the organisation has to face some legal problems due to not maintain the environmental rules (Berinde and Andreescu 2015).

The organisation has to be give the penalty of $4 million as per the new rules of the country. the area which is affected by the organisation is known as bushfire prone area and that is why the maintenance of that area is very efficient

C. Social Sustainability

Material Topic


Management Approach

Disclosure 401-1

This disclosure of sustainability assignment states about the rules and regulations of employment. It describes the approach of any organization in creating job or employment. In other words, it describes the processes in which an organization hires, recruits, retains their employees. Other practices related to these also been described here. It also covers the conditions of employing and working of an employee in the supply chain of an organization. The relationship of an employee is legal with the employer and the company. Hence, it confers a set of rights along with obligations in both the parties. This ensures the application of labour law or commercial law ( 2019).

The company mentioned in the case study is in construction business who predominantly is involved in developing residential apartments. The company had 58 male working staffs from which 17 has left to join the rival or to set their new venture up. To decrease the rate of staff turnover, they decided on increasing the pay rates of the workers as well as providing them with one rostered day leave. This proves that the company had a poor HR policy in respect to the employee turnover policy resulting in the turnover of one-third of its whole population.

Disclosure 406-1

This disclosure has two different parts to deal with different issues. Section 406-1A ensures the reporting of the incidents that takes place within the workspace relating to discrimination in the time of the reporting period. While 406-1B looks into the status of the incidents with reference to the actions which has been taken to resolve the incidents (Missimer, Robèrt, and Broman 2017). It also states the next course of action of the organizations to be mentioned clearly during the reporting period.

Taking a close look on the case study, this to be said that the company accused in the significant discrimination case is true as evidence of such incident has been found and it relates to the gender and age. The company had no female employee which clearly proves the discrimination of gender and from the incident report which was filed by an ex-employee confirms that he used to get discriminated because of his age which had supporting evidence against the organization. It has been also noticed that all the new joined apprentice were of ages below 30.

Disclosure 413-1

In this disclosure, the responsibility is discussed to reveal all sort of information of the reporting organization relating to local community agendas, evaluation of social impact, stakeholders’ engagement, work councils, occupational safety and health committees to deal with various impacts along with the grievance process of local community (Mani, 2016).

Post a thorough investigation it was found that the company was accused with a serious crime. A lump sum charge of penalty by the Department of the Environment and Energy was imposed on the company for destroying 0.45 hectares of grassland. Not only this, it also included endangered ecological communities. Post this incident, they made a media release where they mentioned about how they are effectively engaging with Stanwell Council and other different environmental firms to help in conserving sedge frogs.  


After analysing the whole topic within this sustainability assignment it is concluded that the organisation named Timberwell faced various problems related to corruption, environmental problem and construction issues. These assignments represent the issues as well as the solution in terms of sustainability standards. The GRI standards and the disclosure is the main discussion topics of the assignments and through them, the knowledge over sustainability standards are gained by the organization.

Reference List
Anundi, L. and Hultman, M., 2018. Följder av en standardförändring: En kvalitativ studie om hur företags hållbarhetsredovisning och hållbarhetsarbetepåverkas av standardbytet från G4 till GRI Standards.

Bakardjieva, R., 2016. Sustainable development and corporate social responsibility: linking goals to standards. Journal of Innovations and Sustainability, 2(4), pp.23-35.

Berinde, M. and Andreescu, N.A., 2015. Reporting corporate social responsibility according to GRI standards. The Annals of the University of Oradea. Economic Sciences, 24, pp.17-23.

De Oliveira Bellini, E.C., Rodrigues, R.N. and Lagioia, U.C.T., 2019. Public Sector (Un) Sustainability: a study of GRI adherence and sustainability reporting disclosure standards in Public Institutions and State-Owned Companies of the Public Agency Sector. Cuadernos de Contabilidad, 20(49), pp.1-28.

Eizenberg, E. and Jabareen, Y., 2017. Sustainability assignment Social sustainability: A new conceptual

Exploring the social system. Journal of Cleaner Production, 140, pp.32-41. 2019, ABOUT THE STANDARDS AND THE DISCLOSURE, Available at: [Accessed on :02.10.2019]

Horner, C.A. and Wilmshurst, T.D., 2016. Stakeholder engagement and the GRI: Implications for effective risk management. Corporate Ownership & Control, p.210.

Lampinen, J. and Prahl, A., 2018. The Transition from G4 to GRI Standards: A case study of Löfbergs AB.

Mani, V., Gunasekaran, A., Papadopoulos, T., Hazen, B. and Dubey, R., 2016. Supply chain social

Missimer, M., Robèrt, K.H. and Broman, G., 2017. A strategic approach to social sustainability–Part 1: pp.42-52.

Sustainability for developing nations: Evidence from India. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 111,

Van Eerd, D., Vu, U., Buccat, K., Irvin, E., Cullen, K. and Moser, C., 2018. 547 Systematic review evidence in one minute or less.

Wójcik-Jurkiewicz, M. and Sadowska, B., 2018. Sustainability assignment Non-financial reporting standards and evaluation of their use illustrated with example of Polish listed companies. European Journal of Service Management Vol, 27, p.2.

Zametica, A. and Johansson, J., 2019. GRI-quality and financial performance: A quantitative study on the impact of sustainability reports’ quality on firm performance and firm value in the Swedish manufacturing industry.


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