On February 7, 2024, the European Council and Parliament reached a provisional agreement to adjust the timeline for implementing certain aspects of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).
Originally, sector-specific European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) and separate standards for large non-EU companies were due for adoption in June 2024. The new agreement pushes this deadline to June 2026, offering companies more time to adapt.
The decision aligns with concerns raised in the European Commission’s October 2023 report, “Long-term competitiveness of the EU: looking beyond 2030,” which identified reporting burdens as a key challenge for businesses, particularly SMEs.
Companies will still be required to implement the initial set of ESRS standards on the existing timeline, but will have further time to prepare for the future addition of sector-specific and non-EU company standards. Notably, the application date for third-country companies remains unchanged, set at the 2028 financial year as dictated by the CSRD.
“Boosting European competitiveness is a core pillar of the Belgian Presidency, and one way to achieve this objective is to reduce the administrative burden on companies,” commented Vincent Van Peteghem, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
“Today’s agreement limits reporting requirements to the minimum and gives companies time to implement the ESRS and prepare for the sectorial European Sustainability Reporting Standards.”
The agreement marks one of the last main steps to passing the directive to delay the adoption of the standards, with the deal now requiring formal adoption by the EU Council and Parliament.
This change reflects a balancing act between promoting sustainability transparency and mitigating potential burdens on businesses, particularly smaller ones. Whilst ensuring companies report on their environmental and social impact remains crucial, providing adequate time for preparation is vital for successful implementation.
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