Majority of EU Firms Confident They’ll Be Ready for Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive – Report

Almost two-thirds (63%) of companies say they are very or extremely confident that they will be ready to report under the EU’s new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), according to PwC’s inaugural 2024 Global CSRD Survey, published today.

The global survey, of more than 500 senior executives and business professionals, including finance, sustainability and risk leaders, found “that the EU directive, which will impact about 50,000 companies, is having a global impact.”

More than three-quarters (79%) of companies “headquartered outside the EU and 74% headquartered within the EU believe CSRD is or will lead to company leadership considering sustainability in decision making to a greater extent.”

Of respondents from companies headquartered “in 38 countries and territories, 75% already plan to report at a consolidated group level, including operations outside the EU.”

Preparing to report under the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is leading companies “to give more weight to sustainability in business decisions.”

Around three-quarters of companies preparing “to file under the directive, including those headquartered outside the EU, say they are factoring sustainability into decision-making to a greater extent, or that they plan to do so.”

While the survey results indicate confidence “around sustainability reporting, survey respondents cite obstacles to implementation.”

The single biggest concern listed “is data availability and quality (59%).”

Only one-fifth of companies due to “report in their 2025 financial year have validated the availability and completeness of data for their disclosures.”

Additionally, less than 60% of all respondents “have involved their technology function, although most respondents plan to do so, and most companies are not using specialist tools or technology.”

Spreadsheets are the most commonly used tool (74%), compared “with 26% using centralised sustainability data storage (e.g., a data lake) and 20% using AI, although more have plans to use these tools in the future.”

Nadja Picard, Global Reporting Leader, PwC Germany, said:

“As the countdown to CSRD compliance approaches, it is positive to see companies are largely confident that they will be ready to report. However, there is still some way to go, with the majority grappling with complex challenges, particularly the quantity and quality of data required, not only for their own operations but across their value chain. As the CSRD essentially requires sustainability reporting to be on par with financial reporting, leading executives are recognising that sustainability information must be available, accurate, and audit-ready: not just on a one-time basis, but annually. The global impact of CSRD shows the importance of getting to a global baseline of reporting standards to reduce complexity and improve comparability.”

Despite high levels of confidence, especially “for companies due to report in their 2025 financial year (72%), less than half of these companies have completed key activities, such as confirmation of reporting options (39%), double materiality assessment (38%), and validation of availability of data (20%).”

Nonetheless, companies that have completed early-stage activities “are more likely to be confident in meeting the reporting requirements.”

While respondents report high confidence on topics that “are generally included in existing disclosures such as workforce (75%), business conduct (75%), and climate change (60%), they are far less confident in their ability to meet reporting requirements on less familiar topics such as biodiversity (35%), pollution (43%), and workers in the value chain (44%).”

The survey finds 76% believe CSRD “has or will lead to company leadership considering sustainability in decision making, including 59% who say sustainability is already being considered to a greater extent due to CSRD, and 17% who say it will be considered.”

Companies expect a wide range of business benefits “to flow from CSRD.”

Namely, more than half (51%) expect benefits “to a large or very large extent to include better environmental performance, 49% expect improved engagement with stakeholders, and 48% better risk mitigation.”

Almost one-third believe CSRD benefits to “a large extent will include revenue growth (28%) or cost savings (26%).”

The expectation of financial benefits is higher “for companies closer to their reporting deadline, with 38% of companies due to report in FY 2025 expecting to benefit to a large extent through revenue growth and 34% through cost savings.”

Will Jackson-Moore, Global Sustainability Leader, PwC UK, said:

“Our survey shows leading companies are increasingly embedding sustainability into their decision making. Through the implementation of CSRD, they are expecting strong environmental benefits, better risk mitigation and improved engagement with stakeholders. We’re also seeing companies that are further along in their CSRD journey expecting greater overall benefits from its implementation. In particular, those that are closer to their reporting deadline see much greater financial benefits such as access to capital, revenue growth and cost savings than those due to report in later years.”

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