The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is already having an impact

PwC Study 2023: The majority of organizations already collect CSRD-related KPIs

PwC research highlights status of CSRD implementation

The European Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) has been in force since January 2023. In the near future, significantly more organisations than before will be required to report on sustainability issues – as well as more extensively than before: across Europe, the CSRD will require around three times as many organizations to report than before, and their number will increase from almost 12,000 to around 49,000. In the medium term, not only large organizations, but also capital market-oriented small and medium-sized companies will be subject to CSRD reporting obligations. 

With this study, we examined how reporting companies approach CSRD implementation: How do organizations currently report on non-financial issues? Which CSRD implementation measures have you already implemented? Which tools do you use for this? And do the CSRD guidelines already influence your actions?

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PwC research highlights status of CSRD implementation

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The research at a glance

Some of the key research findings are: a clear majority of organizations (61%) already collect CSRD-relevant KPIs; 58% have now carried out a scope analysis and 54% a materiality analysis. However, 15% of organizations have not yet started implementing CSRD requirements.

The research at a glance

Sustainability departments most often responsible for implementation

At 42% of the organizations surveyed, sustainability departments are responsible for the implementation of CSRD. The financial department is responsible for almost a third (30%) and controllers make up for 21% within organisations. In 63% of organisations, the CSRD requirements are implemented by the department that is also responsible for the implementation of the EU taxonomy.

64% of respondents indicate that the complex technical implementation of CSRD requirements poses a challenge for their organization. While for exactly the same number, scarce resources pose a challenge. The high time pressure when implementing CSRD requirements is an obstacle for one in two organizations.

For the vast majority of organizations (74%), the technical complexity of implementing CSRD requirements is mainly due to the fact that they have to consider the entire value chain. For 61%, the data base is also a challenge in this respect; For over half, it is about room for interpretation  (53%) and definition issues (52%).

Over a quarter want to use Excel for reporting

More than half of organizations (52%) want to use software solutions for CSRD reporting obligations, while 20% do not want to use any software solutions. More than a quarter (27%) of organizations want to use Excel – the most frequently mentioned solution. Nearly every fifth company (19%) plans to use a dedicated sustainability software solution or ERP system.

12% of respondents only want to use the same software solutions for sustainability reporting as for financial reporting. Almost a third of organizations (30%) want to use other software in addition to financial reporting software, or only want to use special software for non-financial reporting. Nearly one in three respondents also do not yet know which software solutions should be used.

CSRD often already influences how organizations act

Remarkably: in 59% of organizations, CSRD guidelines already influence operational decisions. And almost three-quarters of respondents (72%) follow a sustainability strategy that is relevant to management - in 2021 this was still 24%. In 81% of companies with a sustainability strategy, it is integrated into the overall strategy of the company.

More research results

Customers drive sustainability

For 70%, the expectations of their own customers are a key factor in changing their own sustainability strategy – more important than regulation, which is a driving force for change for more than half (55%) of organizations. Marketing (53%) and investors (48%) are also important factors.

Only audit if it is mandatory

Half of the organizations only want to have their sustainability reporting audited if it is mandatory. 22% already have the information checked with "limited certainty", 13% already have it checked with "reasonable certainty". Organizations that have already had their data audited or are going to do so want to call on their accountants (35%) or another accounting firm (25%).

External advice is important

58% of the organizations surveyed want to seek external advice on the implementation of the CSRD, almost a third (29%) do not intend to do this. A majority of organizations (54%) that rely on consultants plan for them to take over up to 30% of implementation efforts.

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Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) 2023 - an analysis

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The methodology

In mid-2023, PwC intensively questioned a total of 170 organizations from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands about the implementation of the CSRD. As a non-EU member, Switzerland is not necessarily affected; However, Swiss companies often follow the reporting requirements of EU states. Furthermore, Swiss companies may also be indirectly affected if they have subsidiaries based in the EU – which in turn are subject to CSRD regulations.

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Alexander Spek

Alexander Spek

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 6 20398982

Noor Sanders

Noor Sanders

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 389 65 39

Karin Meijer

Karin Meijer

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 030 39 90

Willem-Jan Dubois

Willem-Jan Dubois

Partner, PwC Netherlands