EFRAG, GRI Confirm High Interoperability of European Sustainability Reporting Rules and GRI Standards, Avoiding Double Reporting Concerns
The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) announced today the release of a statement confirming that they have achieved a high level of interoperability between the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) and the GRI Standards.
The high interoperability achievement will significantly reduce the sustainability disclosure burden for many companies, largely eliminating the prospect of “double reporting,” or the need to disclose sustainability-related information according to two sets of separate standards.
Hans Buysse, EFRAG Administrative Board President said:
“This joint statement concludes several years of diligent work towards a high level of interoperability between the ESRS and GRI standards. The efforts made by the GRI and EFRAG Sustainability Reporting teams will prevent the need for double reporting by companies resulting in a user-friendly reporting system without undue complexity. Our collaboration with GRI is bearing fruit and we are already preparing ourselves for the next challenges in the field of sustainability reporting.”
The ESRS, developed by EFRAG, and officially adopted by the European Commission in July, set out the rules and requirements for companies to report on sustainability-related impacts, opportunities and risks under the EU’s upcoming Corporate Sustainable Reporting Directive (CSRD). The CSRD, on track to begin applying from the beginning of 2024, will significantly expand the number of companies required to provide sustainability disclosures to over 50,000 from around 12,000 currently, and introduce more detailed reporting requirements on company impacts on the environment, human rights and social standards and sustainability-related risk.
GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards are one of the most commonly accepted global standards for sustainability reporting by companies, developed to enable consistent reporting across companies and industries, providing clearer communication to stakeholders regarding sustainability matters. The GRI published a major update of the standards in 2021.
The new statement follows the announcement by the GRI and EFRAG in 2021 of a cooperation agreement for the development of EU sustainability reporting standards and supporting convergence with global standards.
Carol Adams, Chair of the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), the independent body that sets the GRI standards, said:
“Since the early stages, we have actively engaged with EFRAG in the development of the ESRS. With this high level of interoperability achieved, we have now turned our attention to developing a detailed mapping of the disclosures from both sets of standards and technical guidance, which will help companies that report using GRI Standards prepare for CSRD requirements.”
One of the key areas of alignment highlighted between the standards is the requirement to adopt a double materiality approach, or disclosing information about how sustainability issues impact companies, as well as on companies’ impact on society and the environment.
According to the statement, with the double materiality approach in place, and the CSRD’s requirement to take account of existing standards, “ESRS and GRI definitions, concepts and disclosures regarding impacts are fully or, when full alignment was not possible due to the content of the CSRD mandate, closely aligned.”
The organizations added that with the high level of interoperability achieved, companies already reporting under the GRI will be well prepared for ESRS reporting, and that those “reporting under ESRS are considered as reporting with reference to the GRI Standards.”
Eelco van der Enden, CEO of GRI, said:
“This is great news for businesses and for GRI reporters. They can use their current reporting practices to prepare for the new requirements under ESRS. What is more, ESRS reporters are considered as reporting with reference to the GRI Standards and have the possibility to report on additional topics not covered by the ESRS in accordance with GRI Standards. GRI is fully committed to actively engage with EFRAG and other standards setters to reduce the reporting burden for companies.”