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How companies can successfully implement the CSRD and build a foundation for future success

21.12.2023 | Climate | 0 comments

Key Points

  • The CSRD expands on the requirements of the NFRD and introduces the concept of double materiality.
  • The CSRD significantly expands the scope of companies that are required to submit reports and uses the ESRS to define specific reporting requirements. The scope and requirements vary depending on company size.
  • Companies can use the CSRD requirements as an opportunity to initiate transformation processes, generate a competitive advantage and strategically integrate sustainable business practices into the management of their company.

The CSRD: A new era of sustainability transparency

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) marks a significant development within the corporate world. As an expanded form of corporate social responsibility (CSR), it is a new effort to promote transparency around sustainable business practices. At a time when environment, social and governance (ESG) issues are becoming increasingly important, the CSRD serves as a bridge between businesses and society by ensuring that companies report on their sustainability practices.


In recent years, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has established itself as a concept that encourages companies to see their realm of responsibility as extending beyond that of their own financial interests. This concept asks companies to also consider the societal and environmental impact that their company has. CSR is largely voluntary in nature and is comprised of the initiatives and commitments that companies undertake to behave in an ethically, socially and environmentally friendly manner.

In addition to CSR, large companies with more than 500 employees (including listed companies, banks and insurance companies in the EU) were previously required to report on certain non-financial aspects of their business activities under the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD). This included information on environmental aspects, social and employee-related issues, human rights as well as information on combatting corruption and bribery.

The introduction of the NFRD represented an important step in the development of corporate reporting and brought CSR practices into a more formal and regulated context. The CSRD builds upon the NFRD, furthering and strengthening this development in corporate reporting by introducing higher reporting requirements and expanding the scope of companies that are required to report.

The most significant change going from the NFRD to the CSRD lies in the expansion of the concept of materiality. Under the concept of double materiality, reporting must not only cover issues that financially impact a company but also issues relating to the impact that a company has on society and the environment.

CSRD reporting: Which companies are required to submit a report?

The CSRD significantly expands the scope of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD). Under this new directive, approximately 49,000 companies in the EU, including 15,000 in Germany, are now required to report on various aspects of sustainability. This includes information on environmental matters, social responsibility, employee issues and human rights. The specific requirements for these areas are defined by the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS).

The implementation of sustainability reporting under the CSRD is taking place gradually, and the requirements vary according to company size. Large companies will be affected by the reporting obligations first. In accordance with accounting criteria, two out of the three following conditions must be met:

  • Large enterprises: Balance sheet total of at least 25 million euros, net turnover of at least 50 million euros and 250 employees on average
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): Balance sheet total between 5 and 7.5 million euros, net turnover between 10 and 15 million euros and between 10 and 249 employees
  • Micro-enterprises: Balance sheet total of a maximum of 450,000 euros, net turnover of maximum 900,000 euros and up to 10 employees

(Information provided above correct as of December 2023)

The deadline for the submission of a CSRD report depends on the size of the company. The report must be submitted in the year that directly follows the fiscal year to be reported on. The timeline is as follows:

  • Fiscal year 2024: Large companies already reporting under the NFRD
  • Fiscal year 2025: Large companies not yet reporting under the NFRD
  • Fiscal year 2026: Listed SMEs, small credit institutions, captive insurance companies; These companies also have the option to postpone reporting until 2028.

Sustainability reporting: Going beyond compliance

Companies have two options when implementing the CSRD. They can…

… meet all required obligations and leave it at that


… utilise insights gained during the reporting process to initiate transformation processes and thereby secure economic benefits.

While the first option comes with costs and effort, it does not provide significant added value to a company. The second option requires the same resources, but with this option, companies can effectively utilise the results of the reporting process. The analysis of various CSRD topics can reveal the potential for transformation within a company. If this potential is utilised and implemented, a competitive advantage can be achieved:

  • Increased efficiency and cost reduction
  • Improved risk management
  • Enhanced brand reputation and customer loyalty
  • Development of innovative products and services
  • Enhanced image as employer
  • Leading role in your industry

We recommend using the CSRD as a basis for transformation processes and as a way to integrate sustainable business practices into your corporate strategy. This way, you ensure long-term competitive success.


Successfully implementing the CSRD

The requirements that the EU imposes on companies with the CSRD are complex. It is, therefore, worthwhile to establish a clean and structured reporting process during the initial reporting cycle. ENDURE can support your company in creating CSRD-compliant sustainability reports and in establishing transformation processes that you can integrate into your corporate strategy. This way, you‘ll be able to achieve economic advantages and competitively position your company for the long term.

Our process for creating a CSRD report entails several different phases:

  1. Understanding the CSRD requirements
  2. Conducting a materiality assessment
  3. Developing strategies and transformation concepts for different areas of sustainability

To derive the maximum benefit from sustainability reporting, we recommend viewing sustainability as an integral part of your corporate governance and strategy. It is crucial to integrate sustainability goals into the DNA of your company and not to treat such goals as isolated projects.


We recommend avoiding silo structures by seamlessly integrating your sustainability reporting into existing processes in your company. This will help to facilitate data collection and analysis and ensure that sustainability is understood as an ongoing process that should be integrated into all areas of your business.


CSRD criteria may initially appear complex and extensive. This is why the first step of our collaboration with companies is to develop an understanding of CSRD requirements and the specifications set out in the ESRS standards with all parties involved.

The materiality assessment as a central element of CSRD criteria

The implementation of the CSRD requires all companies to conduct a materiality assessment. The ESRS standards provide a list of topics that must be considered when conducting the assessment. The goal is to identify all sustainability issues that are relevant to your company. In the language used in the CSRD, these are referred to as “material” and must be reported on.

In our experience, it is advisable to allocate sufficient time for the materiality assessment, as it is not only a mandatory component for implementing CSRD but also serves as the foundation for transformation processes within a company. The result of your materiality assessment will provide your company with transparency and highlight areas where action can be taken. As such, it serves as the basis for your company’s sustainability management strategy and practices.

Initiate transformation processes and gain a competitive edge

After completing the materiality assessment, it’s time to implement the insights that you gained from it. Since the list of topics to be reported on is long, it’s easy to lose focus in an attempt to tackle too many issues at the same time.

Our recommendation for implementing the CSRD:

Take one step at a time. Start by selecting a topic that is of particular importance to your company and use this topic as a pilot project. This approach allows you to build and test basic reporting structures. The problems will initially be smaller and easier to solve, allowing you to gain experience with the process, data collection, etc. After completing the pilot project, you can approach the remaining topics on your list much more efficiently with the experience you have gained during the pilot project.


Summary: Implementing CSRD requirements and leveraging them to give your company a competitive advantage

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) introduces a new era of transparency for sustainability and represents a significant advancement in corporate reporting. The directive substantially expands upon the previous requirements outlined in the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) and encompasses a greater number of companies. With the introduction of the concept of double materiality, the CSRD requires companies to report on both their financial impact and the influence of their business activities on society and the environment. The directive not only constitutes a compliance obligation, but also an opportunity which companies can use to gain a competitive edge and take a leading role in their respective industry.

Companies that use the reporting process as a basis for transformation and integrating sustainability into their corporate strategy can secure long-term success. We can accompany you at every step of implementing the CSRD, all the way to the successful implementation of your transformation strategy. Working together, we use the CSRD as an opportunity to ensure your business operates successfully and sustainably in the future.


What is the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)?

The CSRD is an EU directive aimed at improving transparency around sustainable business practices. It builds upon the requirements of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) and introduces the concept of double materiality.

Who does the CSRD apply to?

The CSRD applies to approximately 49,000 companies in the European Union, including 15,000 companies in Germany. It applies to large companies with a balance sheet total amounting to at least 25 million euros and a net turnover of at least 50 million euros.

When is my company required to submit a CSRD report?

This depends on the size of your company. Large companies already reporting under the NFRD must report starting from the fiscal year 2024. Other large companies must follow in 2025, and certain smaller companies starting in 2026.