Bridging the compliance gap: A roadmap for CSRD readiness and beyond

Bridging the compliance gap: A roadmap for CSRD readiness and beyond

In the realm of financial and environmental sustainability, conducting a double materiality assessment (DMA) is a crucial initial step for businesses.

According to Position Green, this process not only illuminates the material sustainability issues from both a financial and impact standpoint but also lays a foundational stone for the subsequent journey towards CSRD compliance. The insights garnered from a DMA are instrumental in understanding where a company stands in terms of sustainability and what steps are needed to align with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS).

Performing a gap analysis post-DMA is vital. This analysis delineates the discrepancies between the data a company currently possesses and the data required by CSRD and ESRS, in light of the materiality assessment. Such an exercise, ideally conducted by an amalgamation of internal sustainability experts and external advisors, aims to map out the extent and nature of efforts needed for compliance. It serves as a cornerstone for crafting a roadmap to close these gaps, integrating ESRS requirements seamlessly.

The journey towards CSRD compliance is not solely about filling these gaps; it’s about strategically leveraging the outcomes of the DMA. A well-thought-out readiness roadmap is essential, designed to not just meet the compliance requirements — like audit-ready disclosures for material topics — but also to identify and capitalise on opportunities for creating value.

However, constructing this roadmap comes with its own set of challenges. It necessitates prioritising initiatives that have the most impact, deciding on the implementation timeline, and determining how these initiatives are integrated within the company. Additionally, ensuring the roadmap is in sync with regulatory timelines and monitoring compliance progress is critical. Beyond mere compliance, companies must look at how they can use the DMA outcomes to drive strategic benefits and surpass basic requirements.

There are two primary tracks in the readiness process: the compliance track and the strategic track. The compliance aspect focuses on the hygiene factors necessary for meeting CSRD mandates, including updating management systems to incorporate DMA findings and establishing a governance model that supports compliance and sustainability projects. This track is about ensuring that your company’s disclosures, policies, and risk management processes are up to scratch.

On the other hand, the strategic track goes beyond mere compliance. It involves identifying and pursuing projects that can generate business value from the opportunities unearthed during the DMA. This may include entering new markets made viable by climate change or revising your company’s sustainability strategy to align with identified material sustainability matters. A significant part of this track is developing a net-zero transition plan, outlining how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a sustainable economy, thereby bolstering the company’s competitive edge.

In conclusion, the journey towards CSRD compliance is multifaceted, blending regulatory adherence with strategic foresight. By meticulously navigating this path, companies can not only meet the new standards but also harness sustainability as a catalyst for growth and innovation.

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