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FAQs about the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)

The CSRD targets financial and non-financial companies covered by the Accounting Directive and the Transparency Directive, and falling into the following categories:

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How Can Private Equity Position Itself for the US SEC’s Climate Disclosure Rules?

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is poised to release its highly anticipated climate-related disclosure rules for public US companies – a ruling that has been in the making for over a year.

Originally published in March 2022, the SEC proposed that all publicly listed US companies be mandated to report their climate data in alignment with reporting recommendations from the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
When the proposal was then opened for public comment, the SEC received over 3,400 letters, significantly more than it customarily does when seeking public input.

While the SEC ruling applies to public companies, given the current global regulatory environment, along with calls for greater scrutiny of ESG claims within the private equity industry, it is only a matter of time before similar climate considerations be asked of private funds. Moreover, although the proposal will almost certainly face some measure of legal challenges, this will likely not deter 98% of companies from implementing climate reporting, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of 300 senior executives at US public companies with at least $500 million in revenues

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The Regulatory Rise of TCFD Reporting

The United Kingdom now mandates TCFD-aligned reporting requirements for the private sector. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed requiring publicly traded US companies

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A Brief Guide to SFDR Reporting and Compliance

When the European Union’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) came into force in March 2021, it signalled to the world that the EU was ready to take a global lead on ESG reporting and sustainable finance.The move impacted all financial market participants and financial advisors based within the EU. Along with the European Green Deal (which aims to see the bloc carbon neutral by 2050), and the EU’s “green taxonomy” (an industry-based classification system of what can and cannot be marketed as a sustainable product), a potent mix of regulatory mechanisms is set to usher Europe towards an economy in line with the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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The ISSB’s IFRS Standards : What’s New & What’s to Come?

“Explore the latest developments in sustainability reporting with ISSB’s IFRS Standards. Learn about key changes, potential impacts, and the path forward in this comprehensive guide.”

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The ISSB Standards: A Milestone in the Global Economy 

The ISSB Standards: A Milestone in the Global Economy On 26th June, 2023, the ISSB finally launched its inaugural sustainability standards, ushering in a new era in international corporate reporting The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) has issued its first two IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards: the IFRS S1, which provides a set of general disclosure requirements designed to enable companies to communicate to investors about the sustainability-related risks and opportunities they face over the short, medium and long term, and the IFRS S2 , which sets out specific climate-related disclosures and is designed to be used with IFRS S1.

On 26th June, 2023, the ISSB finally launched its inaugural sustainability standards, ushering in a new era in international corporate reporting

The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) has issued its first two IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards: the IFRS S1, which provides a set of general disclosure requirements designed to enable companies to communicate to investors about the sustainability-related risks and opportunities they face over the short, medium and long term, and the IFRS S2 , which sets out specific climate-related disclosures and is designed to be used with IFRS S1.  Both standards fully incorporate the 4 pillars of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), namely Governance, Strategy, Risk Management, and Metrics and Targets.

Interestingly, the TCFD – which has been adopted into the UK law and is used voluntarily by many of the world’s biggest asset managers – is now set to move into the administration of the ISSB; this merger marks a significant advancement in the ISSB’s promise of bringing cohesion among the plethora of sustainability standards and frameworks available for asset managers.

The IFRS S1 and IFRS S2: In a Nutshell

While the final Standards contain several notable changes from the 2022 drafts , they continue to lean heavily on industry-specific disclosure topics issued by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and strongly align with the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and many more (see Figure 1 below).

Figure 1

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IFRS S1: The IFRS S1, for instance, asks companies to report on a range of risks and opportunities, beyond climate, partly by leveraging the works of predecessor organisations such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) and the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).  This ensures a global baseline and allows the ISSB standards to be applicable to any accounting framework.

IFRS S2: In much the same way, companies using IFRS S2 must be fully compliant with the TCFD recommendations and must provide information on physical and transitional climate-related risks and opportunities. Industry-specific disclosures are also included here, building on the SASB standards but with improvements for international applicability. 

In a nutshell, the S1 & S2 are characterized by the key elements highlighted in the Table below:

S1

S2

Scope

Contains general requirements for disclosure of sustainability-related financial information

Contains climate-related disclosures

Disclosure requirements

Asks for disclosure of material information about sustainability-related risks and opportunities

Emphasizes the need for consistency and connections between financial statements and sustainability disclosures, requiring financial statements and sustainability disclosures to be published at the same time

Sets out disclosure of material information about climate-related risks and opportunities

Sets out disclosure for transition planning, climate resilience, and Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions. (For more details on this disclosure, click here)

Specificity of reporting requirements

Sets out general reporting requirements on topics such as water, biodiversity and social issues

Requires disclosure of information, when material, about climate risks (for example, flood risk), transition risk (for example, regulatory change) and climate-related opportunities (for example, new technologies)

Incorporation of other frameworks

Points to other standards and frameworks (for example, SASB, IIRC and CDSB) in the absence of specific IFRS standards

Incorporates TCFD Recommendations and includes SASB Standards’ climate-related industry-specific topics and metrics as illustrative guidance

Adoption Timeline

Both Standards are effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2024, with substantial transitional reliefs to allow preparers more time to align reporting of sustainabilityrelated financial disclosures and financial statements

Both Standards are effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2024, with substantial transitional reliefs to allow preparers more time to align reporting of sustainabilityrelated financial disclosures and financial statements

Adopting the ISSB Standards

The IOSCO Approval: Impact on Voluntary and Mandatory Reporting

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) is conducting an independent assessment of the ISSB standards, with its approval necessary before individual national securities regulators can adopt the standards into their respective regulatory frameworks. This will mark a breakthrough for the ISSB Standards, transforming their very nature from Voluntary to Mandatory.

Transition Groups & Reliefs

Now that IFRS S1 and IFRS S2 are issued, the ISSB will work with jurisdictions and companies to support adoption. The ISSB acknowledges that this level of reporting is “new for many, and represents a significant change in reporting practices globally,” so its first steps to help in adoption will include creating a Transition Implementation Group to support companies that will be using the standards and launching capacity-building initiatives to support effective implementation. 

Additionally, the ISSB is also offering “transitional reliefs” to facilitate companies’ initial reporting pursuant to the Standards. More specifically, in their first year of reporting, companies need not: (i) provide sustainability reporting at the same time as traditional financial reporting, (ii) disclose Scope 3 emissions, (iii) calculate Scope 1 and 2 emissions using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol if the company has previously used a different framework for doing so, (iv) provide comparative information relative to prior reporting years and (v) provide disclosures around sustainability-related risks and opportunities beyond those required by the Climate Standard.

Challenges to Adoption

While such concessions will ease the reporting burden on many companies, smoothen the transition period, and encourage compliance, companies will still struggle with data gathering, verification, and technical compliance requirements and may need to outsource or partner with SaaS companies such as ESGTree to gear up for the January 2024 reporting period.

ESG SaaS to Ease the Reporting Burden on Financial Institutions

Since the ISSB requirements are built on an amalgamation of the ESG standards shown in Figure 1, companies and financial intuitions that adopt these standards now, rather than later, will be better equipped to meet and exceed regulatory compliance in the future. Those that are new to sustainability disclosures can use this year (2023) to prepare for the application of ISSB rules by:

Evaluating internal systems and processes for collecting, aggregating, and validating sustainability-related information across the company and its value chain

Reviewing the sustainability-related risks and opportunities that affect the company’s business

Understanding the IFRS Standards by either visiting the ISSB website or contacting the ESGTree Customer Success Team for more customized and stepwise guidance

Incorporating the SASB standards and CDSB framework, TCFD recommendations, and/or the Integrated Reporting framework (all which ISSB leverages) into the company’s ESG reporting process

Partnering with ESG technology solutions like ESGTree will simplify and streamline the collection of large ESG data sets and carbon emissions calculations and will automate the ESG standards and frameworks mentioned in Figure 1 as a first step towards compliance with the IFRS Standards.

Although the landscape of global sustainability reporting remains fragmented and evolving, the publication of the IFRS Standards represents an important step toward establishing a common understanding of the basic information required to assess the sustainability-related risks and opportunities businesses face.

About ESGTree

On 26th June 2023, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) introduced its pioneering IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, marking a transformative moment in global corporate reporting. The IFRS S1 and IFRS S2 standards emphasize both general and climate-specific disclosures, integrating key principles from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). These standards aim to unify the numerous sustainability frameworks, further supporting the transparency of businesses in disclosing sustainability-related financial risks and opportunities. With their integration set for January 2024, these ISSB standards will be instrumental in streamlining global sustainability reporting.🌐
Purpose-built for private capital investors, ESGTree’s data automation solutions allow private equity and venture capital firms to gain insights into their portfolio companies’ ESG performance over time, attribute ESG data correctly, and benchmark their data to assess a portfolio company’s progress in relation to other comparable companies in the region. These insights enable investors to identify potential risks and opportunities and make informed investment decisions based on a portfolio company’s ESG performance. Our cloud-based platform and advisory services meet the needs of both seasoned ESG managers as well as those entering the world of ESG for the first time.

The federal budget targets three priority areas: healthcare, affordability for everyday citizens, and the clean economy transition. It proposes $43 billion in net new spending over the course of six years, slightly raising the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio for the next two. Current federal debt is at $1.18 trillion.

Budget 2023: Clean Economy

The 2023 budget provisions for a clean economy cover the following areas:

· Clean energy and electrification (e.g., support for innovating the electricity grid)
· Clean manufacturing
· Greenhouse gas emissions reduction
· Electric vehicles and batteries
· Infrastructure
· Critical minerals
· Support for other major projects

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What We’ve Learned Automating the ESG Data Convergence Initiative (EDCI) for Clients​

Last year, private equity firm the Carlyle Group and pension fund the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) announced what could become a game changer for the private equity industry. The ESG Data Convergence Initiative, or EDCI, seeks to standardize ESG reporting for general partners (GPs) by creating a single framework for them to follow. The aim is to generate a critical mass of comparable information on how GPs’ portfolio companies are performing on ESG relative to each other, as well as to promote greater reporting transparency for limited partners (LPs). The data will be aggregated into an anonymized benchmark by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Thus far, 59 leading LPs and 121 GPs have agreed to participate in the project, or perhaps what at this point one can termed an experiment, that together represent over $8 trillion in assets under management.

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ESG & Impact – A Natural Fit for Credit Unions

When it comes to ESG & Impact Investing, credit unions are well-positioned to use both to differentiate themselves from other financial institutions. By providing innovative product opportunities for existing members and attracting new members that are seeking to integrate social considerations in investment decisions, credit unions can easily strengthen the link to their mission & spearhead the mainstreaming of Impact Investing and, to a larger extent, ESG.

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The Greenhouse Gas Protocol & its Scope 1, 2 & 3 Emissions Classification Explained

The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) announced recently that it would mandate the reporting of Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – or emissions resulting from a company’s supply chain – as part of its ESG disclosure standards currently under development. Given how tricky such emissions can be to assess, the move signals the criticality of carbon footprint reporting to both investors and regulators. The ruling was unanimous.

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TCFD Reporting: Software Solutions for Financial Institutions

Today, the TCFD is one of the most commonly used disclosure frameworks across the globe, with countries such as the UK and New Zealand among the first to require TCFD-aligned climate reporting. In fact, the TCFD is now set to move into the administration of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), a merger that is expected to bring further cohesion among the plethora of sustainability standards and frameworks available for asset managers. Thankfully in the past six years, financial institutions have recognized that climate risks are intertwined with financial risks, motivating them to drive emissions down. 
🌟 Key Benefits:

• 🕒 Save Time: Reduce the time and cost spent on TCFD reporting by 70%.
• 🔍 Enhance Clarity: Transition from laborious qualitative (open-ended) responses to scenario-based multiple-choice questions.
• 📊 TCFD Automation & Insights: Streamline TCFD reporting, complete with scores and suggestions for data-driven decision-making.
• 🌱 Stay Ahead of the Curve: Lay a strong foundation for future compliance with evolving standards such as the ISSB Climate Disclosure Standards and more.

In 2017, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) introduced a framework to help organizations report their climate-related financial information and assess climate risks and opportunities.    

Today, the TCFD is one of the most commonly used disclosure frameworks across the globe, with countries such as the UK and New Zealand among the first to require TCFD-aligned climate reporting. In fact, the TCFD is now set to move into the administration of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), a merger that is expected to bring further cohesion among the plethora of sustainability standards and frameworks available for asset managers. Thankfully in the past six years, financial institutions have recognized that climate risks are intertwined with financial risks, motivating them to drive emissions down. 

Originally published in March 2022, the SEC proposed that all publicly listed US companies be mandated to report their climate data in alignment with reporting recommendations from the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
When the proposal was then opened for public comment, the SEC received over 3,400 letters, significantly more than it customarily does when seeking public input.

While the SEC ruling applies to public companies, given the current global regulatory environment, along with calls for greater scrutiny of ESG claims within the private equity industry, it is only a matter of time before similar climate considerations be asked of private funds. Moreover, although the proposal will almost certainly face some measure of legal challenges, this will likely not deter 98% of companies from implementing climate reporting, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of 300 senior executives at US public companies with at least $500 million in revenues