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What is CSRD and what does it mean for UK companies?

ESG is part of an ever-changing regulatory landscape with several pending and recently introduced requirements set to expand the scope and extent of corporate reporting across different jurisdictions.

Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosure (CSRD) refers to the practice of companies disclosing information on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance in their annual reports. In 2021 the European Union (EU) proposed the new directive, which aims to revise and expand the current Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD). The directive, which came into force earlier this year, seeks to ensure that companies report on their ESG performance in a comparable, consistent, and reliable manner, thereby increasing transparency and accountability. The directive is being phased in between 2023 and 2026, starting with larger companies before new requirements for SMEs come into effect.

The implications of CSRD for UK companies with operations in Europe are potentially significant. Firstly, UK companies operating in the EU will have to comply with the new directive’s reporting requirements, specifically those firms with securities listed on a regulated EU-market. This means that they will need to collect and report on a wide range of ESG metrics, including climate change, social and employee matters, human rights, and anti-corruption and bribery. UK companies will need to ensure that their ESG disclosures are in line with the CSRD guidelines and that they use the required reporting formats.

The CSRD directive requires companies to disclose their ESG information in a digital, machine-readable format, making it easier for investors, regulators, and other stakeholders to access and analyse the data. UK companies will therefore need to invest in the necessary technology and processes to ensure that their ESG disclosures comply with these requirements.

Furthermore, the CSRD directive aims to harmonise ESG reporting across the EU, making it easier for stakeholders and investors to compare the performance of companies across different sectors and countries. This means that UK companies are likely to face increased scrutiny and pressure to improve their ESG performance, as their performance will be compared to that of their European competitors.

Finally, the CSRD directive may also have implications for UK companies’ access to finance. Many investors are increasingly looking for companies that are committed to sustainability and have strong ESG performance. Companies that do not disclose their ESG performance or have poor ESG performance may find it more difficult to access finance, as investors become more selective in their investment decisions.

Therefore, considering the above, as the CSRD directive is phased in, there are several implications for UK companies with operations in Europe. These companies will need to ensure that they comply with the new reporting requirements, invest in the necessary technology and processes to make their ESG disclosures machine-readable, and improve their ESG performance to remain competitive in the European market. By doing so, UK companies can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and help to position themselves for long-term success in an increasingly ESG-focused business environment.

Article original source: Landmark Information Group.

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