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31 Jul 2023

Finance Watch

European Sustainability Reporting Standards remain largely unchanged

On 31 July 2023, the European Commission adopted the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) for use by all companies subject to the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). The final text remains largely unchanged from the draft published for consultation on 9 June 2023. In particular, all standards and disclosure requirements will be subject to materiality assessment with the exception of the “general disclosure” standards.

Finance Watch, the pan-European NGO advocating to make finance serve society, welcomes the adoption of the long-awaited standards but regrets that the concerns shared by civil society and the financial sector during the consultation remain generally unaddressed. The adopted text brings more transparency in situations where a reporting entity would consider climate as a non-material topic. It also requires an explicit statement for non-material data points reported under Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR). This may help the financial sector slightly, but the significant reduction of mandatory data points is problematic. Meaningful guidance from the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) on how to perform the materiality assessment and its consideration during assurance engagements will be essential.

Vincent Vandeloise, Senior Research & Advocacy Officer at Finance Watch, said:

“Deviations from the original standards proposed by EFRAG are a concern. Climate change and social standards are not mandatory in the final text, which unfortunately puts more reliance on the quality of assurance work to make sure material topics have been identified. ”

The delegated acts will now be subject to scrutiny by the European Parliament and the Council.