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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

On Monday, the European Commission (EC) announced the adoption of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). The EC unofficially published four documents relating to the ESRS: the Delegated Regulation, Annex I containing the ESRS, Annex II containing a glossary of terms and acronyms, and a Q&A on the Adoption of the ESRS. The ESRS will not come into force until published in the Official Journal of the EU.

Annex I outlines the specifics of the ESRS. The ESRS covers twelve topics across four main areas: general, environmental, social, and governance. These standards provide much-needed guidance for companies required to comply with the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive and only apply to in-scope European companies. The EU will develop separate standards for non-EU companies required to report under the CSRD at an enterprise-wide level beginning in 2029 on 2028 data, those standards are expected in 2024 at the earliest.

The ESRS were originally developed by the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) and published in November 2022. The present version contains substantial changes from the EC primarily in three areas:

  1.  Alterations to phase-in requirements;
  2. Added flexibility for companies making materiality determinations; and
  3. Making some proposed requirements voluntary.

The ESRS will start applying to CSRD disclosures in 2025. The version of the ESRS adopted by the Commission cannot be altered by the European Parliament or the European Council and will be the final text appearing in the Official Journal of the EU. Further guidance on the application of the ESRS will be periodically published by EFRAG.

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The Editor

Zachary Barlow is a licensed attorney. He earned his JD from the University of Mississippi and has a bachelor’s in Public Policy Leadership. He practiced law at a mid-size firm and handled a wide variety of cases. During this time he assisted in overseeing compliance of a public entity and litigated contract disputes, gaining experience both in and outside of the courtroom. Zachary currently assists the editorial team by providing research and creating content on a spectrum of ESG… View Profile