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European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS)

European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS)


European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS)

In the course of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which represents a substantial extension of the Non Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) was tasked with creating European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) in order to make the information published in a sustainability report comprehensible, relevant, comparable and also verifiable. The final ESRS were published as a delegated regulation on 22nd of December 2023 by the EU.

Regulatory Background

These ESRS must be applied by companies that already fall under the scope of the NFRD starting with the financial year 2024. In addition, large companies that meet two of the following three criteria will also be affected from financial year 2025:

  • Balance sheet total over EUR 20 million
  • Net turnover over EUR 40 million
  • Number of employees over 250

Listed SMEs, small and non-complex credit institutions, and captive insurance companies that meet two out of three criteria will also be required to report on sustainability from financial year 2026:

  • Balance sheet total over EUR 350.000
  • Net turnover over EUR 700.000
  • Number of employees over 10

Furthermore, there are requirements regarding companies from third countries, branches or permanent establishments in EU countries.

Update 31.01.2024

ESRS drafts for SME

In addition to the ESRS-standards for very large and large companies, which have been in force since January 1, 2024, there are now new drafts:

The European Union has published drafts for ESRS-Standards for listed SMEs and their mandatory ESG reporting as well as for non-listed SMEs for voluntary reporting. These planned ESRS-standards are intended to offer SMEs the opportunity to use a European set of rules tailored to the size of their company as a basis for their sustainability reporting. Eva Aschauer will be providing details on this and tips for practical implementation shortly. Stay tuned

Development of the ESRS

The EFRAG Project Task Force on European Sustainability Reporting Standards (EFRAG PTF-ESRS) started to develop the European standards in spring 2021, taking into account existing frameworks and established initiatives such as those of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

Since the beginning of 2022, EFRAG PTF-ESRS has published various working papers to provide insight into the intended content and structure of the standards. In June 2023, a final draft of the delegated regulation of the ESRS was published by the European Commission. In the end of December 2023, the delegated regulation was published in the official journal of the EU.

Overview European Sustainability Reporting Standards

The ESRS can be divided into the following three categories:

  • cross-cutting standards
  • topical standards (Environmental, Social and Governance standards)
  • sector-specific standards

Currently, there are 12 sector-agnostic standards in the Delegated Regulation which must be applied by companies subject to the CSRD. This is to ensure that companies are fully transparent in disclosing their impacts on people and the environment, as well as the risks and opportunities sustainability matters have on the undertaking.

There are two cross-cutting standards:

The topical standards can be divided into the areas of Environment, Social and Governance:




  • G1 – Business Conduct

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