Finishing line in sight for new EU standards

Published date: 15 June 2023

Latest version of ESRS confirms GRI reporters ideally placed to comply with impact reporting requirements

GRI has welcomed the launch by the European Commission of a consultation on a Delegated Act that includes the first set of European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), open until 7 July. This signals that the ESRS are on track to be available for use by companies from 2024, as set out in the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

While DG-FISMA have proposed adjustments to the ESRS, importantly, the Delegated Act continues to require disclosure on the full range of sustainability topics - as needed to address all impacts companies have on the environment and society. As previously confirmed by EFRAG (who were mandated to develop the ESRS), the impact disclosure requirements in the ESRS are aligned as closely as possible with GRI and other global reporting standards.

Eelco van der Enden, CEO of GRI, said:

“The publication of the ESRS for consultation is a key moment towards the realization of the ambitions in the CSRD to significantly expand mandatory sustainability reporting by companies operating in the EU. Notably, it reflects the European Commission’s stated aim of a high degree of interoperability with existing, widely-used reporting frameworks.

What this means is that complying with ESRS impact reporting requirements will be much easier for those companies that already use GRI, and they can then focus on adding financially material information and possible ESRS specific disclosures. Furthermore, in cases where the ESRS does not provide standards deemed material for corporate reporting, it is reassuring that ESRS-1 states companies can utilize the GRI Standards for disclosure on these topics.

GRI provided wide-ranging technical input during the development phase of the ESRS. We will, of course, further engage through the public consultation to support efforts to create decision-useful EU standards that are interoperable with our global standards. Not only will this reduce the reporting burden, it will also support globally comparable disclosure that meets the needs of all stakeholders, including investors.”

GRI has collaborated on the development of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) to ensure the highest possible degree of commonality between the respective standards. Under the EFRAG-GRI cooperation agreement, signed in July 2021, the two organizations joined each other’s technical expert groups and committed to share information, and for standard setting activities and timelines to be aligned as much as possible.

In December 2022, GRI published detailed FAQs guidance to explain to reporting organizations how the GRI Standards and ESRS interconnect.

The KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting (October 2022), which included the top 100 companies in 17 EU countries, found that 68% of companies in Europe voluntarily report with GRI.