The European Commission approves the first set of sustainability reporting standards to be used by companies

Spain - 

In compliance with the mandate given in the corporate sustainability reporting directive (CSRD), the European Commission has approved a delegated act adopting the first set of reporting standards.

Following the publication of Directive (EU) 2022/2464 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2022, amending Regulation (EU) No 537/2014, Directive 2004/109/EC, Directive 2006/43/EC and Directive 2013/34/EU, as regards corporate sustainability reporting (CSRD), the European Commission recently adopted the first delegated act to comply with the mandates given in the directive, as we reported in our alert last December.

This delegated act, set to come into force three days after its publication in the Official Journal, adopts the first set of standards (ESRS – European Sustainability Reporting Standards) that companies falling within the directive’s scope will have to use for their sustainability reporting regardless of the sector in which they operate.

The delegated act is accompanied by the following annexes:

  • An Annex I containing a list of the approved standards, comprising both cross-cutting standards (general requirements and general disclosures) and more specific standards on environmental, social and governance matters (climate change, pollution, water and marine resources, biodiversity and ecosystems, resource use and circular economy, own workforce, workers in the value chain, affected communities, consumers and end-users, business conduct).
    Among other matters, it requires and describes the principle of double materiality as the basis for the sustainability information that must be reported by companies.
  • An Annex II containing a glossary of terms and a list of acronyms used in the standards in Annex I.

In the coming years the European Commission is expected to adopt more delegated acts for other sets of standards. In particular, the CSRD requires the European Commission to adopt by the end of June 2024 sector-specific standards, proportionate standards for listed SMEs, and standards for non-EU companies.

There are a couple of important elements to be recalled in relation to these new obligations. Firstly, on January 1, 2024 these obligations will start to apply to large companies, which will have to deliver their sustainability reports in 2025.

Secondly, we are expecting to take place the approval of the Spanish law that will transpose the CSRD directive. It is worth recalling here that on May 3 the Council of Ministers resolved to commence a public comment period for the wording of the preliminary bill on the rules for corporate environmental, social and governance disclosures. The wording of the preliminary bill and a few of the main matters it contains are available in our alert published in May 2023.