February 2023

  • EC announced chair and members of EU Platform on sustainable finance 
  • EC is assessing recommendations for EU Taxonomy technical screening criteria 
  • EFRAG’s plans for Set 2 Draft ESRS consultations 
  • ISSB to issue its first sustainability standards end of June 2023 

EC announced chair and members of EU Platform on sustainable finance

The European Commission (EC) selected 28 members and five observers from the private sector based on their environmental and sustainable finance expertise. The previous seven permanent members among EU agencies and bodies have been re-appointed directly, and nine EU institutions and international organisations have been invited as observers. Helena Viñes Fiestas was appointed as Chair of the Platform. 
The Platform will advise the EC on the EU Taxonomy and the EU sustainable finance broadly, focusing on usability. The first meeting is scheduled for 7 March. 

Also, a stakeholder request mechanism will be launched in Q1 2023. This will allow stakeholders to submit suggestions based on scientific evidence, new activities for the EU Taxonomy, and possible amendments to the existing technical screening criteria. 

EC is assessing recommendations for EU Taxonomy technical screening criteria

MEP Axel Voss (EPP/Germany) inquired the EC about its plans for the draft delegated acts on the rest of EU Taxonomy environmental objectives. Commissioner McGuinness replied that the EC is now conducting an internal assessment. Any future delegated act will be subject to public consultation.

Green Deal Industrial Plan

The EC presented a Green Deal Industrial Plan to strengthen the competitiveness of the EU net-zero industry and support the fast transition to climate neutrality. It aims to support the scaling up of the EU’s manufacturing capacity for the net-zero technologies and products required to meet the EU’s climate targets. The plan is based on four pillars: 

  • establishing predictable and simplified regulatory environment 
  • speeding up access to finance 
  • enhancing skills 
  • opening up trade to resilient supply chains 

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EFRAG’s plans for Set 2 Draft ESRS consultations

EFRAG will open a consultation on the second set of draft ESRS Exposure Drafts (ED). The indicative plan is as follows: 

  • beginning of April (100-day consultation period): 
    • draft SEC 1 (ESRS Sector classification system) 
    • draft ESRS on Coal and Mining 
    • draft ESRS on Oil and Gas (upstream and downstream) 
  • beginning of May (with a 90-days consultation period): 
    • draft ESRS for Listed Small Medium Enterprises (LSME) 
    • draft Agriculture, Farming and Fishing 
    • draft Road Transport 

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CEAOB opinion on ESRS

The EC consulted the Committee of European Audit Oversight Bodies (CEAOB) on EFRAG’s technical advice on European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). In its opinion, CEAOB focused on external assurance of sustainability reporting given its mandate in audit oversight. CEAOB commented on matters related to ESRS provisions, their clarity and whether they create a sufficient basis for the verifiability and consistency of disclosures.

MEPs agree on their negotiating position on ESAP

The European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) Committee agreed on their negotiating position on the European Single Access Point (ESAP) on 31 January – 49 votes in favour and five against. ESAP aims to provide centralised access to publicly available information relevant to financial services, capital markets and sustainability. MEPs also voted in favour of entering the inter-institutional negotiations. The indicative plenary vote date is 13 March.

ISSB to issue its first sustainability standards end of June 2023

The ISSB finalised its decision-making process for IFRS standards on General Sustainability-related Disclosures and Climate-related Disclosures. The ISSB also agreed to allow preparers to use ESRS and GRI metrics and targets in cases where IFRS Sustainability topical standards are unavailable. The ISSB plans to issue these standards by June 2023 and launch a public consultation on future work priorities. 

IOSCO welcomed the ISSB achieving its milestone.

State of Play in Sustainability Assurance

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) published its third annual benchmarking study of global practice in sustainability disclosure and assurance. The study analysed whether companies report sustainability disclosures and obtain assurance. It inquired which assurance standard companies use and which provider offers assurance services. 

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FRC updates 2021 Statement of Intent on ESG

The UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) issued its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Statement of Intent, which includes key focus areas for ESG reporting during 2023. The FRC plans to undertake the following projects: 

  • ESG Data – how and where to find it and use it effectively 
  • materiality disclosures – what should be considered when determining material issues? 
  • support for FRS102 Preparers 
  • what are the ESG reporting requirements of the Corporate Governance Code? 

Read more This curated content was brought to you by Vita Ramanauskaité, Accountancy Europe Manager since 2015. You can send her tips by email, follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.