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CSRD and ESRS: complementary standards

Summary

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive and the European Sustainability Reporting Standards are two key elements of the European sustainability regulatory framework.
The CSRD requires greater transparency on ESG issues, while the ESRS provide rules to address them. Together, they form a complementary system that promotes transparent and consistent sustainability reporting, but their integration presents challenges for companies, also offering strategic opportunities such as improved brand image and easier access to finance.
This convergence reflects a major step towards a sustainable and transparent economy.
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Introduction

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) are two fundamental pillars of the European sustainability regulatory framework.
In this article, discover how these two standards complement each other in order to help organizations create their sustainability report, as well as the challenges of this interdependence.

Various books representing CSRD and ESRS

CSRD: Regulatory Framework for Sustainability Reporting

The CSRD marks a turning point in European regulation, requiring companies to be more transparent on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in order to strengthen corporate responsibility. The CSRD extends the non-financial reporting duty to a much broader scope than the previous NFRD standard, now covering more than 49,000 companies. Organizations must now include detailed information on their ESG impact in their annual reports, including the effects on the environment and individuals, while reflecting the influence of sustainability issues on their economic performance.

The CSRD is thus changing reporting practices in Europe, promoting a double materiality approach that assesses the impact of companies on society and vice versa. This pushes companies to take a long-term view of their added value while improving the comparability of data for investors and stakeholders. This directive also promotes the standardization of sustainability reporting. Finally, it allows for a better assessment of ESG performance and the emergence of an economy focused on sustainability and responsibility.

ESRS: Implementation Methodology for CSRD

The CSRD sets out the requirements for sustainability reporting, while the ESRS sets out the methodology to meet them, thus playing a crucial role in the practical application of CSRD. European Sustainability Reporting Standards provides detailed rules for reporting on environmental, social and governance issues. They ensure the relevance and comparability of information disclosed across the European Union. These standards make it easier to compare companies' sustainability reports. In addition, they meet the expectations of regulators and investors, with a focus on the impact of companies on the environment and society.

To comply with ESRS, companies must have specific processes in place for collecting and reporting sustainability data. They need to choose relevant performance indicators and establish transparent measurement and monitoring methodologies. The standards advocate reporting based on the principle of double materiality, requiring an assessment of the effects of sustainability issues on the company and vice versa.

CSRD and ESRS, a robust regulatory framework, catalysing a sustainable and transparent economy in Europe

An executive in front of a landscape showing that the CSRD and ESRS are regulatory frameworks

Complementarity between CSRD and ESRS

The synergy between the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) is essential for an accurate and effective representation of corporate sustainability performance in Europe. These two normative frameworks form an interdependent system where each complements the other to maximize the impact and effectiveness of sustainability reporting.

The European Sustainability Reporting Standards have been designed specifically to translate the requirements of the CSRD into a set of practical and operational instructions. By defining the precise terms of reporting, the ESRS allow companies to understand and implement regulatory expectations in a consistent manner. They provide a detailed methodological framework that guides companies step-by-step in reporting on their sustainable operations and strategies, ensuring that the necessary information is collected, verified and communicated in line with the objectives of the CSRD.

The double materiality approach is at the heart of the ESRS, reflecting a fundamental principle of CSRD. This approach requires companies to consider and report not only how environmental and social issues influence their financial performance, but also how their activities impact society and the environment. The ESRS provide the tools and indicators needed to measure and communicate these two aspects, allowing stakeholders to gain a comprehensive view of the interaction between the company and its environment.

The challenges of CSRD - ESRS alignment

CSRD - ESRS Integration Challenges for Enterprises

For organizations, integrating CSRD requirements and ESRS procedures is often a complex task:

Implementing standards can be complex and costly, especially for SMEs with limited resources.

It is necessary to acquire specific sustainability and reporting skills to meet the requirements of the standards.

Integrating CSRD and ESRS principles may require structural changes and redesign of internal processes.

Companies often need to invest in new technologies, like D-Carbonize, to efficiently collect, process, and communicate sustainability data.

Strategic Opportunities

CSRD - ESRS alignment offers many opportunities for organizations:

Transparent and consistent sustainability reporting can significantly improve the company's brand image.

Standardized and reliable information can facilitate access to capital, including green or sustainable finance.

Companies that are early adopters of these standards can stand out in the marketplace.

Integrating these standards drives innovation and increases resilience.

The combination of CSRD and ESRS represents a major step towards a sustainable and transparent economy in the European Union. These regulations set a new standard for reporting, but they also prompt companies to rethink their overall societal impact. By aligning business strategies with sustainability imperatives, they pave the way for innovations that are expected to transform markets and build economic resilience. To help organizations meet these new standards, it is possible to use dedicated software such as the carbon footprint calculation software D-Carbonize.

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