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Understanding India's sector agnostic ESG reporting norms

In 2021, SEBI introduced the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) standards for Indian companies. This introduces a simpler, reporter framework for sustainability based on the National Guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC). 

While the reportage is mandatory for the top 1000 listed companies in India from 2022-2023, it offers a useful framework for communicators across companies about what the policymakers look at.

CSR reporting now falls under the BRSR standards

CSR reporting is now merged under BSSR along with ESG. In India is also mandatory for companies of a certain size to employ 2% of their net profits in CSR activities. India is possibly the only country in the world to have such a provision.

Sector agnostic norms

Currently, under BRSR, the same reporting norms apply to all sectors. That greatly simplifies and unifies reporting for companies.

Operational ESG a starting point for ESG implementation 

Experts recommend starting with your own operations to understand their compliance with ESG. 

Explaining further, Chaitanya Kalia, EY India climate change and sustainability services leader, said in a podcast,"For BRSR reporting, companies should start with their own operations – how it impacts the environment, its social aspect, and governance. Second, look at the upstream – how robust is the supply chain in disclosing ESG norms. Third is downstream, which has an impact on customers."

No need for duplicate disclosures

The norms clearly state that "In case the data sought in the reporting format is already disclosed in the annual report, the listed entity can provide a cross-reference to the same. Thus, an entity need not disclose the same information twice in the annual report."

Useful Links 

THE SPAG FINN Purpose Alignment Index & Purpose and Impact practice

All about BRSR norms and the 9 principles of NGRBC 

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