On November 23, 2022, EFRAG delivered the first set of draft ESRS to the European Commission (EC). The set is expected to be adopted in June, 2023 by EC.
Since the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) will be applied to European companies and some non-European companies in the future, it is imperative to grasp this outline and start preparing for the report’s publication as soon as possible.
This article in a series provides an overview of the CSRD/ESRS, key points of application, and its relevance to the GRI, with which EFRAG is currently collaborating.
The first article provides a brief of the first draft of ESRS, 4 things to complying with CSRD/ESRS, the scope and the timeline.
You can get a CSRD/ESRS Guidebook, which has been compiled from the series of articles. Sign up here!
What is NFRD and CSRD?
Currently, Europe has a sustainability disclosure standard, the NFRD (Non-Financial Reporting Directive). This applies to listed companies with 500 or more employees, banks and insurance companies.
Europe has a “Green Deal” with the ambition of “climate neutrality” to achieve virtually zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
In this context, with taxonomy and the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), the NFRD has been revised, and a legally binding CSRD has been established to strengthen sustainability-related corporate disclosure.
An initiative to strengthen and standardize the integration disclosure of European companies’ impact (Environmental and Social) and financial information by European Commissions
Key changes of NFRD to CSRD
|Scope of application||Large companies > 500 employees including banks and insurance companies||1, For European companies|
The CSRD will first apply to large European companies that meet at least 2 out of the following 3 criteria:
– More than 250 employees
– Turnover that exceeds EUR 40 million
– A balance sheet that exceeds a total of EUR 20 million
2, For Non- European companies✴︎1
Companies with subsidiaries or branches in Europe meet at least one or more of the following 2 criteria on the condition of substantial business activity:
– Net turnover (on a consolidated basis) that exceeds EUR 150 million within Europe
– The existence of a subsidiary (large or listed company) or a branch (with a net turnover that exceeds EUR 40 million)
|Timelines||FY2018||a, Companies to which the NFRD applies: FY2024/Report 2025|
b, Companies not covered by the NFRD but matching two of the above scopes: FY2025/Report 2026
c, SMEs listed on a stock exchange: FY2026/Report 2027
d, Non-European companies: FY2028/Report 2029
|Applicable companies||11,600||approx. 49,000 – 50,000|
|Independent 3rd party assurance||Not required||Mandatory|
– Limited assurance will be obtained within 3 years of CSRD implementation
– Reasonable assurance within 6 years after implementation.
|Report format||Online or PDF||Digital|
XHTML format by “tag” following ESAP model
|Where to report||Included in the Annual Report||Inclusion in the Management Report|
*1: Since the CSRD is a local European rule, it applies to a wholly-owned subsidiary of a third-country company within Europe if it meets the two criteria as the first European entity.
However, if the third-country company is located outside of Europe as a parent company, and the parent company has implemented disclosure under the CSRD and has received a third-party guarantee, this wholly-owned third-country subsidiary is exempt from reporting disclosure.
Overview of the ESRS
The new reporting standard developed by EFRAG (EFRAG=European Financial Reporting Advisory Group) based on CSRD
As an overview of the ESRS, a sustainability reporting standard based on the CSRD, look at the structure of the disclosures.
- Sector agnostic: Sector-common items
- Sector-specific: Sector-specific items
- Entity specific: Items specific to each company
- Article 8 of Regulations 2020/852: EU Taxonomy
This draft is a proposal for a first sector common standard, which the EC will adopt by June 2023, and the second one by June 2024.
Here is the latest draft agreed upon on November 23.
The ESRS is a set of 12 standards that comprehensively cover environmental, social, and governance matters, providing the basis for a legal framework for sustainability reporting under double materiality.
Organizations are required to disclose all items that they have identified as materiality.
|ESRS 1 & ESRS 2|
|General Principles||Strategy, Governance and materiality assessment disclosure requirements||Mandatory|
|ESRS E1 – E5||Environmental||E1 Climate change|
E3 Water and marine resources
E4 Biodiversity and ecosystems
E5 Resource use and circular economy
|Depends on materiality issues (E1 must be disclosed regardless of materiality issues)|
Draft P6 >13
|ESRS S1 – S4||Social||S1 Own workforce|
S2 Workers in the value chain
S3 Affected communities
S4 Consumers and end users
|Depends on materiality issues|
|ESRS G1||Governance||G1 Business conduct||Depends on materiality issues|
The revised standards further contribute to:
Harmonization of terminology and structure, interoperability with the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), reducing disclosure requirements from the original drafts by 40% (e.g., G2), and clarification of the approach to materiality, including items that must be reported regardless of materiality (e.g., E1).
4 things to complying with the CSRD/ESRS
To be proactive to comply with the upcoming legislation is highly recommended.
1, Concept of Integrated Reporting
As the ESRS requires companies to disclose financial and impact (environmental and social) information in their reports, the guideline of the Integrated Reporting Framework is highly recommendable. Also, intangible assets that one of the factors that increase the value of a company can be measured is recommended.
2, Conduct a double materiality assessment
This is a necessary first step in developing a sustainability strategy that fully considers all stakeholders. The double materiality principle allows an organization to distinguish between its external and internal impacts and to disclose both perspectives, thereby increasing transparency and potentially preventing greenwashing.
3, Process Due Diligence in the Supply Chain
With the revision from NFRD to CSRD, it will expand the scope of application to cover a broader range of supply chains, and through the requirement of “ESRS S2 Workers in the Value Chain,” organizations will be more required to conduct due diligence in their supply chains.
The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) is currently being prepared to enter into force as one of the EU GreenDeal as well as CSRD. Corresponding to this background, sustainable and responsible corporate action will be increasingly required throughout the global value chain.
4, Introduction of assurance schemes and digital access
As the table of key changes of NFRD to CSRD, independent auditing and certification of non-financial information will be mandatory for companies to provide reliable information. Specifically, limited assurance will be obtained within 3 years of CSRD implementation and reasonable assurance within 6 years after implementation.
Companies are required to publish their reports in digital access (XHTML format) and ensure that they are “tag” following a digital classification using the European Single Access Point (ESAP) model.
Preparations for the future – key points for non-European companies
As mentioned above, the European subsidiaries of non-European companies may become subject to the application at the earliest. In such a case, key points for them are as below:
- Is there a person or department within the local organization that is responsible for CSRD? If so, do they have enough the knowledge and experience to deal with it? Is there a system for cooperation with the head office?
- If the local subsidiary cannot report alone, how will it be made independent in the future? If so, what are the costs involved?
- Assuming that non-European companies (global compliance as a home country company) are expected to apply the ESRS in the future, you will start to develop a system within the organization and consider the future trend of the ESRS and the plan and implementation to cope with it.
In the next article, we provide the relevance of the GRI and ESRS.
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