As the three EU institutions kicked off the trilogues on the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), Accountancy Europe and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) brought together speakers representing the European Commission, investors, business, the accountancy profession and civil society to discuss the latest CSRD developments.
Elena Arveras, Policy Officer, Corporate Reporting, Audit and CRAS unit, DG FISMA, European Commission
Stanislas Pottier, Senior Advisor to the General Management, Amundi
Olivier Boutellis-Taft, Chief Executive Officer, Accountancy Europe
Rami Feghali, Vice Chair Sustainability Policy Group, Accountancy Europe
Filip Gregor, Head of Responsible Companies, Frank Bold
Anne-Hélène Monsellato, Independent Director, EcoDa and the Audit and Risk Committee Chair, Euronav and Genfit
Erik Van Der Plaats (DG FISMA European Commission) shared his insights on the ongoing CSRD legislative debate. He noted that the European Parliament (EP) and the Council stressed the importance of the CSRD in the Green Deal and climate change context. Both institutions are keen to achieve a political agreement rapidly. He highlighted the below points as important for the final negotiations:
SMEs’ involvement and potential administrative burden from sustainability reporting requirements
CSRD’s scope and whether the requirements should apply to non-EU companies
assurance (audit) regime and potential separation between the statutory audit and assurance
We discussed the impacts on SME inclusion in the CSRD scope, defining criteria, reporting requirements, transitional stage and what excluding SMEs would mean with regards to access to green investments. Panellists pointed out the importance to acknowledge SMEs as a part of the green transition landscape and provide them with financial and human support. Including SMEs in the reporting regime will clarify the rules or standards companies need to follow and what they are expected to report. We also debated other proposed changes to the CSRD initial scope such as inclusion of non-EU companies.
Expected reporting timeline
Panellists agreed that the expected reporting timeline should be ambitious, but companies should also be given a grace period due to the challenges in collecting reliable data. The current timeline is characterised with two conflicting priorities: being ambitious enough and companies providing credible information in that timeline. We also explored a progressive implementation as a way forward. The debate also revolved around the need for standardised data and for the EU standards to be ready promptly.
Panellists noted that assurance is key to ensure credible information will flow into the value chain, to the financial institutions and investors. We also exchanged on the connectivity between financial and sustainability information, and the proposed potential split between sustainability assurance and financial audit. Limited assurance and the company being able to choose their financial auditor for sustainability assurance were also debated.
 Mr. Van Der Plaats clarified that he is representing his own views on the file.
CSRD: state of play before the final EU negotiations
Elena Arveras, DG FISMA, European Commission
Stanislas Pottier, Amundi
Anne-Hélène Monsellato, EcoDa - Euronav - Genfit
Rami Feghali, Accountancy Europe
Filip Gregor, Frank Bold
Moderator: Olivier Boutellis-Taft, Accountancy Europe