ESG Forum

ESG Forum is a blog focused on providing insights on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues that are increasingly important to investors, companies and society at large. The blog covers topics such as sustainable investing, corporate social responsibility, climate change, corporate governance, sustainability due diligence, sustainability reporting, and more. Through our expert contributors, we aim to inform readers about the latest trends and developments in the world of ESG, helping them to navigate this rapidly evolving landscape and make informed decisions.

CSDDD Update: Official Release of Landmark Regulation

The Directive will become effective on 25 July 2024. Member States must incorporate the CSDDD into their national legal systems within two years of that date.

CSRD Update: Postponement of Sector-Specific ESRS and ESRS for Non-EU Companies

The original version of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD – 2022/2464) empowered the European Commission to adopt the following European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) by 30 June 2024:

ESG Ratings Regulation: Political agreement reached

In a significant development, the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on 5 February 2024 on the Commission's proposal for a Regulation on the transparency and integrity of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) rating activities dated 13 June 2023 (the "ESG Ratings Regulation") (see the Council press release).

CSRD Update: First Set of European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) published

In a previous blog post, we highlighted the European Commission's pivotal move in adopting the first set of European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) as a delegated regulation. These standards were introduced to establish a unified framework for reporting obligations in accordance with Articles 19a and 29a of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD – 2022/2464).

Launch of the European Green Bonds Regulation

In a landmark move, the European Union has unveiled a pioneering Green Bonds Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2023/2631 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 November 2023 on European Green Bonds and optional disclosures for bonds marketed as environmentally sustainable and for sustainability-linked bonds) (the "Regulation"), signalling a major step forward in environmentally responsible financing. Published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 30 November 2023, the Regulation is set to become effective on 20 December 2023 and will apply from 21 December 2024.

CSRD Update: Set 1 of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) adopted by the European Commission

As part of the European Green Deal, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD - 2022/2464) requires companies in scope to report the information necessary to understand the company’s impact on sustainability issues and the information necessary to understand how sustainability issues affect the company’s development, performance and position. On 31 July 2023, the European Commission adopted the first set of European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) as a delegated regulation (as foreseen in Section 29b (1) of the CSRD), which provides common standards for the reporting requirements under the CSRD. This first set of the ESRS mainly contains general, sector-agnostic reporting standards. The second set of the ESRS (sector-specific standards) is expected to be adopted by the Commission by 20 June 2024.

A new EU directive has increased the quota of women who are to be appointed to the executive and supervisory boards of listed companies

In 2018, the Austrian Act on the Equality of Women and Men on Supervisory Boards (Gleichstellungsgesetz von Frauen und Männern im Aufsichtsrat) introduced a new mandatory gender quota of 30% for the supervisory boards of all listed companies and for companies with more than 1,000 employees in Austria. As a result of this legal requirement, the representation of women on supervisory boards has increased significantly in recent years. Whereas only 22.4% of the supervisory board members of listed companies were women in 2018, it was 35% at the beginning of 2023, as can be seen from the annual surveys conducted by the Vienna Chamber of Labour.

DIGITAL SERVICES ACT - A new round of EU online space regulation

On 19 October 2022, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 on a Single Market for Digital Services and amending Directive 2000/31/EC (Digital Services Act) (the “DSA”). The DSA sets out the harmonized legal framework for the EU internal digital services market in order to safeguard it from negative effects caused by national laws that impose different local requirements for providers of intermediary services.