On 31 July 2023, The European Commission (the Commission) adopted a delegated regulation supplementing the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which requires certain companies to report on sustainability matters in their annual report . This delegated regulation sets out the first set of standards to be taken into consideration by companies when fulfilling their reporting obligations under the CSRD, i.e. the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). The delegated regulation will be applicable as of 1 January 2024 for companies already subject to disclosure obligations and a phased-in applicability is foreseen for other companies concerned by the CSRD.
The standards are divided in two categories, namely the cross-cutting standards and the standards on environmental, social and governance. The cross-cutting standards (ESRS1 “General requirements” and ESRS2 “General disclosures”) set out the general principles for all reporting and the information that the Commission considers essential to be disclosed. The standards on environmental, social and governance matters are subdivided into ten matters, for which a second category, i.e. the materiality assessment should be applied. This materiality assessment should ensure that only relevant information appears in the report. The ten matters are as follows:
- Climate (E1)
- Pollution (E2)
- Water and marine resources (E3)
- Biodiversity and ecosystems (E4)
- Resource use and circular economy (E5)
- Own workforce (S1)
- Workers in the value chain (S2)
- Affected communities (S3)
- Consumers and end-users (S4)
- Business conduct (G1)
These standards should enable investors, civil society organisations, consumers and other stakeholders to evaluate their sustainability performance and should result in a higher quality of reporting. The Commission also published a Q&A on the matter to facilitate the implementation of the standards by stakeholders in their reporting.
Our team continues to monitor the entry into force and implementation of the CSRD as well as the development of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards. Please contact us should you have any questions or if you would like any further information on these matters.