ESRS 1 and ESRS 2: Your Sustainability Reporting with Cross-Cutting Standards

Today, it’s really important for businesses to follow specific rules when they report on how sustainable they are. One big set of rules they use is called the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). It helps companies be more open and responsible about their efforts to be sustainable. Inside the CSRD, there are two main sets of rules called ESRS 1 and ESRS 2. These aren’t just simple rules for reporting; they’re detailed frameworks that cover all aspects of sustainability. 

ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 are super important for companies to follow. They help guide businesses towards making sustainability a big part of their overall strategies. As more and more companies focus on being sustainable, it’s crucial to understand and follow these rules for long-term success. 

In this blog, we’ll dive into the details of ESRS 1 and ESRS 2, explaining why they matter and what they mean for businesses reporting on their sustainability efforts. Come along as we explore the world of corporate sustainability, guided by values like honesty, responsibility, and taking good care of our planet.  


ESRS 1: General Disclosure Requirements

ESRS 1, or the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Reporting Standard 1, lays down the foundational requirements for companies to disclose their environmental and social impacts. It mandates transparency regarding a company’s policies, risks, and performance concerning sustainability.

Here are some key elements of ESRS 1: 

  • Policy Disclosures: Companies are required to outline their policies concerning environmental protection, social responsibility, and governance practices. This includes detailing their commitment to sustainable practices and adherence to relevant regulations. 
  • Risk Management: ESRS 1 emphasizes the identification and management of environmental and social risks. Companies must disclose their processes for assessing and mitigating risks related to climate change, human rights violations, and other sustainability issues. 
  • Performance Indicators: Quantitative metrics are essential for assessing a company’s sustainability performance. ESRS 1 mandates the disclosure of key performance indicators (KPIs) related to environmental impact, social initiatives, and governance practices. These KPIs provide stakeholders with measurable insights into a company’s sustainability progress. 
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Effective stakeholder engagement is crucial for sustainable business practices. ESRS 1 requires companies to disclose how they engage with stakeholders, including employees, communities, investors, and regulatory bodies, to address sustainability concerns. 


ESRS 2: Specific Reporting Requirements 

ESRS 2, or the Specific Reporting Standard 2, complements ESRS 1 by providing detailed guidance on specific sustainability issues. It focuses on material topics that are of significant importance to a company’s stakeholders and business operations.

Here are some key elements of ESRS 2:

  • Materiality Assessment: Companies must conduct a materiality assessment to identify and prioritize sustainability issues that are most relevant to their business and stakeholders. ESRS 2 guides companies in determining which issues to report on based on their impact on the environment, society, and business performance. 
  • Sector-Specific Disclosures: Different industries face unique sustainability challenges. ESRS 2 provides sector-specific disclosure requirements to ensure that companies report on issues relevant to their sector. This tailored approach enables stakeholders to compare the sustainability performance of companies within the same industry. 
  • Supply Chain Transparency: Many sustainability issues stem from companies’ supply chains. ESRS 2 encourages supply chain transparency by requiring companies to disclose information about their suppliers, including their environmental and social performance. This promotes accountability throughout the supply chain and drives improvements in sustainability practices. 
  • Integration of Sustainability into Business Strategy: Sustainability should be integrated into every aspect of a company’s business strategy. ESRS 2 emphasizes the importance of aligning sustainability goals with business objectives and disclosing how sustainability considerations are integrated into decision-making processes. 

ESRS 1 and ESRS 2: The Cross-Cutting Standards 

ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 are not standalone reporting standards but are instead integral components of the broader framework of CSRD. Together, they form the Cross-Cutting Standards that are designed to address key sustainability challenges faced by businesses across various sectors. Here’s how ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 serve as cross-cutting standards: 

Holistic Approach: ESRS 1 sets the stage by establishing general disclosure requirements that encompass environmental, social, and governance aspects of sustainability. It ensures that companies take a holistic approach to sustainability reporting, considering the interconnectedness of environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and ethical governance. 

Customized Reporting: While ESRS 1 provides a general framework for reporting, ESRS 2 offers specific guidance tailored to the unique needs and challenges of different industries. By integrating sector-specific disclosures, ESRS 2 ensures that reporting is relevant and meaningful across diverse business sectors, enabling stakeholders to make informed comparisons and assessments. 

Materiality-driven Reporting: Both ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 emphasize the importance of materiality in reporting. Materiality refers to the significance of sustainability issues to a company’s stakeholders and business operations. By conducting materiality assessments and focusing on material topics, companies can prioritize their reporting efforts on issues that matter most to their stakeholders, enhancing the relevance and credibility of their disclosures. 

Continuous Improvement: The Cross-Cutting Standards of ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 promote a culture of continuous improvement in sustainability performance. By requiring companies to disclose their policies, risks, performance indicators, and stakeholder engagement practices, these standards encourage transparency and accountability. This transparency, in turn, fosters dialogue between companies and stakeholders, driving ongoing efforts to enhance sustainability practices and outcomes. 

Integration with Business Strategy: ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 emphasize the integration of sustainability into the core business strategy of companies. By aligning sustainability goals with business objectives and disclosing how sustainability considerations inform decision-making processes, these standards promote the integration of sustainability principles into every aspect of business operations. This integration ensures that sustainability is not treated as a separate or peripheral concern but is instead embedded into the DNA of the organization. 

In essence, ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 serve as the backbone of CSRD reporting, providing a comprehensive and flexible framework that enables companies to address a wide range of sustainability challenges. By embracing these cross-cutting standards, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to responsible and transparent business practices while driving positive environmental, social, and economic outcomes. 

Implementing ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 

While understanding the importance of ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 is crucial, implementing these Cross-Cutting Standards effectively requires careful planning and execution. Here’s a practical guide on how companies can navigate the reporting process: 

Assess Current Practices: Begin by conducting a thorough assessment of your company’s current sustainability practices and reporting mechanisms. Identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, keeping in mind the requirements outlined in ESRS 1 and ESRS 2. 

Engage Stakeholders: Stakeholder engagement is key to identifying material sustainability issues and ensuring the credibility of your reporting. Consult with internal and external stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and community members, to understand their expectations and concerns regarding sustainability. 

Conduct Materiality Assessment: Utilize a systematic approach to conduct a materiality assessment, identifying the sustainability topics that are most relevant to your business and stakeholders. Consider factors such as environmental impact, social relevance, regulatory requirements, and business dependencies when prioritizing reporting efforts. 

Develop Reporting Framework: Develop a reporting framework that aligns with the requirements of ESRS 1 and ESRS 2, as well as other relevant reporting frameworks such as GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) or TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures). Define reporting boundaries, scope, methodologies, and performance indicators to ensure consistency and comparability. 

Integrate Sustainability into Strategy: Integrate sustainability considerations into your company’s overall business strategy and decision-making processes. Ensure that sustainability goals are aligned with business objectives and that sustainability metrics are embedded into performance management systems. 

Enhance Data Collection and Management: Invest in robust data collection and management systems to capture relevant sustainability data accurately and efficiently. Implement protocols for data verification, validation, and assurance to enhance the reliability and integrity of your reporting. 

Promote Transparency and Accountability: Transparency is essential for building trust with stakeholders. Disclose relevant information regarding your company’s sustainability policies, risks, performance, and stakeholder engagement practices in a clear, concise, and accessible manner. 

Monitor and Evaluate Performance: Establish mechanisms to monitor and evaluate your company’s sustainability performance regularly. Use key performance indicators to track progress against targets, identify emerging trends, and drive continuous improvement initiatives. 

Seek External Assurance: Consider obtaining external assurance or certification for your sustainability reports to enhance credibility and demonstrate commitment to transparency and accountability. 

Communicate Results Effectively: Finally, communicate your sustainability results and progress to stakeholders through various channels, such as annual reports, sustainability reports, websites, and stakeholder engagement sessions. Tailor your communication strategy to the preferences and interests of different stakeholder groups. 

By following these practical steps, companies can effectively implement ESRS 1 and ESRS 2, demonstrating their commitment to responsible and transparent business practices while driving positive sustainability outcomes. 

5 Tips for Successful Implementation of ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 

Navigating the complexities of ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 implementation can be daunting, but with the right strategies in place, companies can streamline the process and maximize the benefits of sustainability reporting.

Here are five tips to ensure successful implementation: 

  1. Establish Clear Leadership and Governance: Assign responsibility for sustainability reporting to a dedicated team or individual within your organization. Establish clear lines of communication and accountability, with senior leadership actively championing sustainability initiatives. Ensure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined to facilitate effective coordination and collaboration across departments. 
  2. Embed Sustainability into Organizational Culture: Foster a culture of sustainability throughout your organization by promoting awareness, engagement, and ownership among employees at all levels. Provide training and resources to build capacity and empower employees to contribute to sustainability goals. Encourage innovation and continuous improvement by recognizing and rewarding sustainable practices. 
  3. Cultivate Strategic Partnerships: Collaborate with external stakeholders, including suppliers, customers, industry associations, and non-governmental organizations, to address shared sustainability challenges and opportunities. Explore opportunities for strategic partnerships that enable knowledge sharing, resource pooling, and collective action towards common sustainability objectives. Leverage the expertise and networks of external partners to enhance the effectiveness and credibility of your sustainability initiatives. 
  4. Embrace Technology and Innovation: Leverage technology and innovation to enhance the efficiency, accuracy, and transparency of your sustainability reporting processes. Implement digital tools and platforms for data collection, analysis, and reporting, allowing for real-time monitoring and decision-making. Explore emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things to track and trace sustainability impacts across value chains and drive continuous improvement. 
  5. Communicate and Engage Proactively: Communication is key to building trust and credibility with stakeholders. Proactively communicate your sustainability efforts, progress, and achievements through multiple channels, including traditional media, social media, corporate websites, and stakeholder events. Tailor your messaging to resonate with different audience segments and address their specific interests and concerns. Solicit feedback from stakeholders and engage in dialogue to demonstrate responsiveness and accountability. 



As sustainability continues to climb the corporate agenda, the implementation of ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 becomes not just a strategic choice but a business imperative. By navigating these standards effectively, companies can not only enhance their reputation but also drive positive outcomes for the planet and society. In doing so, they pave the way for a more sustainable and resilient future, where business success is not measured solely by financial performance but by its contribution to the well-being of people and the planet. 


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