How companies can benefit economically from the CSRD reporting obligation


Key Points

  • From the 2024 financial year onwards, large companies with a balance sheet total of at least €25 million, €50 million net turnover and/or 250 employees are required to report under the CSRD.
  • The number of companies that must report in accordance with the CSRD will gradually continue to expand until 2028.
  • We recommend using the knowledge gained from the reporting process to kickstart your company’s sustainable transformation.
  • A sustainable transformation can help your company increase efficiency, save costs in the long term and promote innovation and growth, among other things.

The CSRD reporting obligation is more than just a new requirement

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) marks a turning point when it comes to corporate reporting. It goes beyond pure financial reporting and requires companies to be transparent about their social and environmental impact. This European Union initiative aims to increase companies’ transparency, sustainability and social responsibility.

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive can be viewed from two perspectives. On the one hand, it can be seen as simply something that has to be done to comply with legal requirements, and on the other hand, it can be seen as a strategic opportunity to initiate a long-term transformation that ensures more sustainable business practices.

The compliance-centric approach focuses on meeting minimum reporting standards, which primarily helps companies avoid regulatory penalties and maintain their image when it comes to sustainability. However, this perspective is reactive and focused on the short term, as it is limited to complying with existing standards without actively promoting new ideas and approaches.

In contrast, if the CSRD is used as a foundation for sustainable transformation, it offers a proactive opportunity to fundamentally change corporate governance and culture. This approach, which we also pursue at ENDURE, means the reporting process is seen as an integral part of the corporate strategy, driving innovation and long-term plans for environmental sustainability, social responsibility and economic resilience. By integrating sustainability aspects more deeply into business models and processes, it means that a true transformation can be achieved. It not only meets regulatory requirements, but also leads to more sustainable, future-proof and ultimately more economically beneficial business practices.

Who does the CSRD apply to?

The CSRD extends the previous Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) and affects a larger number of companies. In future, around 49,000 companies in the EU will have to report in accordance with the CSRD, 15,000 of which are German companies. The CSRD requires companies to report on environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects. This includes information on environmental impact, social responsibility, employee issues and respect for human rights. The specific requirements on these topics are set out in the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS).

Sustainability reporting in line with the CSRD is gradually becoming a requirement for corporations and partnerships with exclusively limited liability shareholders. The size of the company also plays a part. Large companies will be the first to submit their reports. In terms of accounting law, two of the three criteria must apply (correct as of 12/2023):


Large enterprises SMEs Micro-enterprises
Balance sheet total > €25 million €5–7.5 million €450,000 max
Net turnover > €50 million €10–15 million €900,000 max
No. of employees Average of 250 10–249 10 max


The first large companies will start their obligation as early as the 2024 financial year. If your company is already subject to the NFRD, the CSRD reporting obligation starts right away and the first report must be submitted in 2025.

Large companies that do not currently have to report in line with the NFRD will be up next. Their first report will be due in 2026 and will provide information on the 2025 financial year. Listed SMEs, small credit institutions and captive insurance companies will then have to report on the 2026 financial year in 2027. However, there is the option to defer the reporting obligation until 2028. There will, however, be a separate standard for SMEs in order to keep the requirements for companies proportionate. This standard is currently (12/2023) still in progress.

Using CSRD reporting obligations as a springboard for economic success

You and your company may see the sustainability reporting obligation as just another one of many regulatory requirements. But we would encourage you to see it in a different light. Why? The reporting process forces companies to look at their business processes and reflect on them. These analyses provide a great deal of information about the company’s own business activities, which offer huge potential to transform your business.

If you see the report merely as an obligation that must be submitted once a year, then this transformation potential will remain untapped. We suggest a different approach, which is to use the insights gained in the reporting process, initiate transformation processes and develop your company further. This means that your company can stay competitive in the long term and remain successful even in difficult times.

Increasing efficiency & saving costs in the long term

It is actually possible to save costs through improved sustainability. This is because analysing business processes as part of the CSRD reporting obligation gives you deep and precise insight into all of the company’s processes. This means that inefficient processes come to light and can either be discarded or improved. This will undoubtedly lead to long-term cost savings, as only processes that are really necessary are kept.

Promoting innovation & growth

Another myth is that sustainable business practices requirements are restrictive and reduce business opportunities. We work with clients from various industries and see that this is not the case. Companies that integrate sustainable principles into their business strategy, and are therefore open to new approaches, develop new products and services. They adapt to current developments and can therefore open up new target markets and business areas.

In order for this to work, the topic of sustainability and all associated goals and obligations must become a central component of the corporate strategy. This means that sustainability is not a topic for a single department to take care of. It should be integrated into all relevant departments and the long-term gains should be kept in mind.


Adopting a sustainable approach requires focusing on long-term planning. This is essential to be able to adapt to evolving market dynamics and societal demands.


Optimising risk management

When preparing their sustainability report, companies are obliged to perform a materiality assessment. This involves determining the business opportunities and risks for all topics required by the ESRS standards. The potential risks that come to light can therefore be taken into account early on when making business decisions.

If you actively familiarise yourself with your own business risks, you are usually better prepared for external surprises and changes because you are less likely to be taken aback by them. So if you start to actively deal with sustainability risks, this will strengthen the company’s resilience.

Public opinion counts

Sustainability awareness is becoming increasingly present in society. More and more people are now paying attention to how products are manufactured, where they come from and what materials they’re made from. Companies that engage in sustainable practices can use this for their marketing activities and positive PR.

Yet in times of skilled labour shortages, it is important to be attractive as an employer as well. Integrating sustainability into corporate strategy also changes corporate culture. This is one way to get ahead of the competition.

Summary: Turn the CSRD reporting obligation into success

As you can see, although the CSRD is a new mandatory requirement for many companies, it does not necessarily have to be a burden. It all depends on the approach you take. The data and information obtained in the reporting process can be used to initiate transformation processes and ensure your business secures a strong market position over time. You can count on ENDURE to be a reliable partner at your side every step of the way as you prepare your CSRD report. Opt for a sustainable, forward-thinking strategy – we will support you in preparing the CSRD report, identifying your transformation potential and implementing it.


What is the CSRD reporting obligation and who does it apply to?

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is a European Union initiative that requires large companies to report on their social and environmental impact from 2024 onwards. This applies to companies with a balance sheet total of at least €25 million, a net turnover of at least €50 million and/or an average of 250 employees.

What kind of information must be included in the CSRD report?

The CSRD report should contain detailed information on environmental impact, social responsibility, employee issues and respect for human rights. The exact requirements are regulated by the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS).

Can SMEs be exempt from the CSRD reporting obligation?

Listed SMEs, small credit institutions and insurance companies must report on the 2026 financial year from 2027 onwards, but they do have the option of deferring the reporting obligation until 2028. A separate standard is currently being developed for SMEs to ensure that the requirements are proportionate.


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