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17 Aug 2023

New European sustainability reporting standards approved

The non-financial performance of organizations is increasingly relevant to various stakeholders, namely environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. Thus, reporting on sustainability performance can help organizations identify and manage their risks and opportunities, to improve the dialogue between organizations and stakeholders and also to upgrade the reputation of organizations.

In 2022, within the scope of the European Climate Pact and the agenda for sustainable financing, the European Commission published Directive 2022/2464, on the communication of information on the sustainability of companies (CSDR - Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive). According to this, companies will have to communicate information about sustainability issues, such as environmental rights, social rights, human rights and governance factors.

This Directive is applicable to the following types of companies and with the respective mandatory start date:

  • Large public interest companies, already covered by the NFRD (Non-Financial Reporting Directive): report in 2025 for the financial year 2024;
  • Large companies not covered by the NFRD: must report in 2026, relative to 2025;
  • SMEs listed on EU regulated markets (with the exception of micro-enterprises): report in 2027 for the financial year 2026;
  • Companies from non-EU countries with more than 150 M€ of net turnover and that have at least one branch or subsidiary in the EU that exceeds certain limits: reporting in 2029 relative to 2028.

The sustainability reporting of organizations covered by the CSRD must be subject to a third party verification or assurance audit. In addition, this report must be made in accordance with the rules of EFRAG: European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). It is intended that there is a high degree of interoperability between EU and global standards such as the GRI in order to avoid unnecessary double reporting by companies.

On July 31, 2023, the European Commission approved a list of 12 new environmental, social and governance standards, according to which large companies and those listed on the stock exchange must report on their compliance, in order to highlight the contribution for a sustainable economy. The environment pillar includes five variables: climate, pollution, water and marine resources, biodiversity and ecosystems, and resource utilization and circular economy. On the social front, companies must report on their own workforce, workers in the value chain, affected communities and consumers and end users. With regard to governance, they must report on the behavior of the companies' management, obligations and other information in general.

By June 30, 2024, a second set of sustainability reporting standards will also be adopted, specifying the complementary information that companies must disclose on sustainability issues and the reporting domains, whenever necessary, as well as sectoral information in which the company operates.

APCER provides a service for verifying reports and sustainability reports prepared in accordance with the GRI - Global Reporting Initiative standards or other recognized reporting standards, as well as those defined by the organization. For this purpose, APCER performs these verifications, in accordance with AccountAbility references, namely the AA1000 Assurance Standard, being a verification body licensed by that entity.

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