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Corporate sustainability reporting

EU rules require large companies and listed companies to publish regular reports on the social and environmental risks they face, and on how their activities impact people and the environment.

What the EU is doing and why

EU law requires all large companies and all listed companies (except listed micro-enterprises) to disclose information on what they see as the risks and opportunities arising from social and environmental issues, and on the impact of their activities on people and the environment.

This helps investors, civil society organisations, consumers and other stakeholders to evaluate the sustainability performance of companies, as part of the European green deal.

New rules on corporate sustainability reporting: The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive

On 5 January 2023, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) entered into force. This new directive modernises and strengthens the rules concerning the social and environmental information that companies have to report. A broader set of large companies, as well as listed SMEs, will now be required to report on sustainability – approximately 50 000 companies in total.

The new rules will ensure that investors and other stakeholders have access to the information they need to assess investment risks arising from climate change and other sustainability issues. They will also create a culture of transparency about the impact of companies on people and the environment. Finally, reporting costs will be reduced for companies over the medium to long term by harmonising the information to be provided.

The first companies will have to apply the new rules for the first time in the 2024 financial year, for reports published in 2025.

Companies subject to the CSRD will have to report according to European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). The draft standards are developed by the EFRAG, previously known as the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group, an independent body bringing together various different stakeholders. The standards will be tailored to EU policies, while building on and contributing to international standardisation initiatives. The Commission should adopt the first set of standards by mid-2023, based on the draft standards published by EFRAG in November 2022.

The CSRD also makes it mandatory for companies to have an audit of the sustainability information that they report. In addition, it provides for the digitalisation of sustainability information.

Rules introduced by the Non-Financial Reporting Directive

The rules introduced by the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) remain in force until companies have to apply the new rules of the CSRD. Under the NFRD, large companies have to publish information related to

  • environmental matters
  • social matters and treatment of employees
  • respect for human rights
  • anti-corruption and bribery
  • diversity on company boards (in terms of age, gender, educational and professional background)

These reporting rules apply to large public-interest companies with more than 500 employees. This covers approximately 11 700 large companies and groups across the EU, including

  • listed companies
  • banks
  • insurance companies
  • other companies designated by national authorities as public-interest entities

Policy making timeline

  1. 14 December 2022
    Legislation - Corporate Sustainability Reporting
  2. 23 November 2022
    Standards - Corporate Sustainability Reporting
  3. 21 April 2021
    Legislative proposal - Corporate Sustainability Reporting

    Proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) to amend the reporting requirements of the NFRD.

  4. 8 March 2021
    Reports - EU sustainability reporting standards
  5. 20 February 2020
    Consultation - Non-financial reporting
  6. 20 February 2019
    Consultation - Non-financial reporting
  7. 18 June 2019
    Guidelines - Non-financial reporting

    Guidelines on reporting climate-related information, which in practice consist of a new supplement to the existing guidelines on non-financial reporting, which remain applicable.

  8. 26 June 2017
    Guidelines - Non-financial reporting

    Guidelines to help companies disclose environmental and social information. These guidelines are not mandatory, and companies may decide to use international, European or national guidelines according to their own characteristics or business environment.

  9. 28 January 2015
    Consultation - Non-financial reporting
  10. 22 October 2014
    Legislation - Non-financial reporting
  11. 15 April 2014
    Frequently asked questions - Non-financial reporting

Relevant legislation