Insights from CSRD Expert: Key Challenges, Common Mistakes & Tips to Get Started

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) brings a multitude of challenges for companies aiming to comply with its reporting requirements. To shed light on this framework and provide valuable guidance, we interviewed Quentin Hennaux, sustainability expert at Greenomy, to discuss the main obstacles faced by organisations, common reporting mistakes, tips on how to get started with CSRD reporting and strategies for impactful sustainability efforts.

Insights from CSRD Expert: Key Challenges, Common Mistakes & Tips to Get Started

In an era where sustainable business practices are gaining significant momentum, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) has emerged as a crucial framework for promoting transparency, accountability, and sustainable finance. As companies navigate the complexities of CSRD reporting, they encounter a multitude of challenges and opportunities along the way.

To shed light on this subject, we sat down with sustainability expert Quentin Hennaux to discuss his insights on the key aspects of CSRD reporting.

  • What are the Key Challenges that Companies Face when Implementing the CSRD for reporting purposes?
  • What is the Most Common Mistake Made by Companies in CSRD Reporting?
  • What Advice Would you Give to Companies who are Getting Started with their CSRD Reporting?
  • What Role do you Think the CSRD will Play in Promoting Sustainable Finance?
  • How can Companies Ensure that their Sustainability Efforts are Truly Impactful?
  • What are the Myths around CSRD Reporting?
  • Alleviate your CSRD Reporting Burden with Greenomy

What are the Key Challenges that Companies Face when Implementing the CSRD for reporting purposes?

Understanding Key Concepts of CSRD

According to Quentin Hennaux, understanding the key concepts of the directive is the first challenge that companies face in getting started as they lay the foundation for CSRD reporting.

Concepts such as the materiality assessment and standards such as the ESRS play crucial roles in CSRD but can be difficult to grasp. ESRS, with its technical specifications and extensive data points, requires a deep understanding to ensure accurate reporting. Materiality assessment influences major parts of the CSRD reporting process, determining which ESG factors are most significant for a company. Gaining a solid understanding of these concepts is essential as they shape the reporting framework and guide companies in collecting and reporting the necessary data accurately and effectively.
What are ESRS

Want to learn more about the framework? Discover more in our free CSRD e-book.

Identifying Data to Report

The second challenge lies in determining the data required for CSRD reporting. Quentin highlights the ambition and coverage of the CSRD, stating

1,200 data points need to be reported, derived from a wide variety of sources. Gathering and organising such a significant volume of information requires substantial effort and resources.

Coordinating data collection from these diverse sources and ensuring its accuracy and consistency throughout the reporting process can be complex and time-consuming. Additionally, maintaining data quality, verifying data integrity, and addressing potential gaps or inconsistencies further contributes to the challenges associated with data collection in CSRD reporting.

CSRD 1200 data points required

What is the Most Common Mistake Made by Companies in CSRD Reporting?

Quentin highlights that the CSRD provides companies with a valuable opportunity to integrate sustainability into the very core of their business, emphasising its significance.

One mistake is considering compliance with the CSRD as a technical endeavor rather than a strategic opportunity for transformation, Quentin explains.The CSRD intends to give companies the opportunity to showcase how their global strategy aligns with ESG matters. It is therefore crucial not to treat it as a checkbox exercise.

The CSRD serves as a catalyst for driving meaningful change, fostering a sustainable future, and gaining a competitive edge in the evolving landscape of responsible business practices.

What Advice Would you Give to Companies who are Getting Started with their CSRD Reporting?

Start immediately to avoid any unnecessary stress and compliance issues. Performing comprehensive gapassessments early on helps companies understand the data requirements and establish effective systems for data collection and automation. Corporates should start as soon as this year to understand the data needed, as 2023 is crucial for data collection in 2024. Some companies also want to disclose on a voluntary basis from next year to build expertise for when they will have to comply.

Quentin Hennaux also advises to streamline the reporting process with automations, enabling companies to collect, integrate, and report data effectively.

Implementing an ESG reporting software like Greenomy can automate your reporting process and streamline data collection. With the extensive number of data points required from various sources, relying on manual methods alone becomes impractical and time-consuming.

Automation enables companies to efficiently collect and integrate data from multiple channels, ensuring accuracy and alleviating the burden of manual data collection year after year. Discover how Greenomy can help generate your CSRD report with our Company Portal.

What Role do you Think the CSRD will Play in Promoting Sustainable Finance?

"The CSRD plays a pivotal role in promoting sustainable finance," says Hennaux. By requiring companies to disclose more reliable and comparable sustainability data through the ESRS, the CSRD will help stakeholders in making more informed decisions. Quentin Hennaux highlights that the directive provides investors with valuable information to assess sustainability performance and risks effectively, reducing the risk of greenwashing.

relationship EU Taxonomy CSRD SFDR

How can Companies Ensure that their Sustainability Efforts are Truly Impactful?

To achieve meaningful sustainability outcomes, Quentin advises taking the CSRD reporting and its double materiality   assessment seriously.

The double materiality assessment in the CSRD allows companies to identify and prioritise the ESG matters on which they have a real impact, and those that can potentially affect the company. Designing its sustainability strategy from that assessment gives companies the opportunity to address sustainability matters more effectively, as few sustainability topics will be of equal importance for companies.

In addition, the extensive development put into the CSRD guarantees that compliance with its requirements signifies   more reliability regarding companies' sustainability efforts, ensuring they are not superficial or deceptive.

Moreover, Hennaux suggests relying on science-based sustainability targets: "Organisations such as the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) help define     objectives based on science and aligned with net zero-emission goals. This is a way to systematically set up targets     that are truly feasible, reliable and impactful."

What are the Myths around CSRD Reporting?

"A recurring myth is that there are too many ESG frameworks and standards, making ESG data not very comparable or reliable," says Quentin. "Recent legislations such as the CSRD will improve harmonisation and comparability, making ESG data more accessible and reliable".

Additionally, Hennaux challenges the notion that ESG reporting is overly complicated, highlighting the resources and support available through platforms like Greenomy.

Our platform simplifies ESG reporting thanks to its extensive range of resources, including step-by-step in-platform guides, the Greenomy Academy, free ebooks, and insightful articles. Also, our Greenomy Advisory Services offer tailored expert advice and guidance to assist you in navigating EU Taxonomy/CSRD and other disclosure regulations, helping you establish a strategic reporting plan.

Alleviate your CSRD Reporting Burden with Greenomy

Implementing CSRD reporting presents significant challenges for companies, from understanding the ESRS to collecting and integrating vast amounts of data. However, with the guidance of sustainability experts and the support of data management platforms like Greenomy, organisations can navigate the reporting process effectively and derive value from their sustainability efforts.

CSRD reporting with Greenomy

In a world where reliable and comparable sustainability data is crucial, Greenomy empowers organisations to make   informed decisions, mitigate the risk of greenwashing, and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.

To conclude, Hennaux reiterates the importance of starting early and leveraging data management platforms:

Start right now and use an ESG reporting platform like Greenomy to automate your reporting process. This enables you to navigate the complexities of CSRD reporting efficiently and ensure compliance with ease. Greenomy empowers organisations to identify the key data points relevant to their operations and seamlessly integrate them into their reporting framework.

Greenomy is your AI-driven sustainability reporting platform for CSRD, EU Taxonomy, and all future emerging ESG Standards. Greenomy empowers corporates to measure, disclose and improve their sustainability.

From data collection, thanks to ESG data libraries that seamlessly integrate diverse data sources, to your dedicated AI Sustainability Advisor, Artemis, to navigate best practices from your industry peers and much more, we help you easily achieve ESG compliance.

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