The world around us is increasingly beginning to feel the impact created from years of unfriendly environmental and social choices. It is now, more than ever before that we get to hear of the crisis getting closer and closer to home. Topics surrounding sustainability and need for better sustainable practices across the value chain are becoming common conversations in the corporate corridor.
The term ESG is one such, where the comprehensive view of all environmental, societal and governance related parameters are grabbing attention, and duly so. This overarching term brings together various impact-focused categories of businesses to create sustainable pathways for future. In the process, the newly developed business strategy also provides opportunities to create additional economic and social value.
It is not a surprise that our regulators and investors are taking notice of the adoption among the businesses and using these frameworks as a key-criteria to evaluate the future readiness of these firms. It will be sooner than later, when all organisations, irrespective of the size and industry, may have to embed ESG practices for their growth.
In May 2021, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) issued a notification introducing a new reporting requirement: The Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR). This is the most recent step by Indian governing bodies to ensure companies incorporate socially and environment conscious practices into their organisations.
The BRSR is further aligned to the 9 principles of National Guidelines of Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC). The new report primarily applies to the top 1000 listed companies by market capitalization, with the option to report in FY2021-22 and the mandatory requirement to report from FY2022-23.
The shift in the disclosure clearly suggests the focus and the expectations that is building for the businesses. Some of the following changes in BRSR in comparison to BRR gives a direction to the nature of policies that may come in soon –
– BRSR is more comprehensive than the BRR and constitutes details of the listed entity, products/services, markets served by the entity, details of employees, CSR activities, transparency and disclosure compliances and an overview of the entity’s material responsible business conduct issues.
– The document requires details on the Management and process disclosures, including policy and management processes, governance, leadership and oversight.
Businesses are taking active measures in creating impactful CSR portfolios and comprehensive business strategies. BRSR will enable better alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and help in achieving our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
In this pursuit, we believe irrespective of the applicability, every business needs to begin this journey to incorporate and adopt ESG practices. Publishing BRSR may very well be a significant step for organisations without existing sustainability reports.
At Sattva, we understand this urgency that is driving businesses to think beyond profitability, and move towards acting responsibly, building inclusive workspaces, develop resiliency in communities and influence the larger ecosystem to adopt the change. We believe becoming sustainable is no longer a matter of choice since we all are in this together – either we all win, or we all lose.
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By – Shrutee Ganguly and Divya Sunder
Shrutee leads the ESG & Sustainability practice at Sattva. She is a Principal, leading engagements with corporate and strategic account clients. She has led projects with large corporations on topics related to ESG and Sustainability disclosures. She has also been working with the Corporate clients on their CSR portfolio. She believes in strengthening business systems so that its impact on climate change can be reduced. Prior to Social impact consulting, She has been part of the corporate world with experience in business consulting, strategy and process excellence.
Divya is part of the CSR sales team and supports marketing and communications efforts for International Business. Her educational qualifications include an M.Sc. in Environmental Studies and Resource Management from TERI SAS and a Masters in International Affairs at Penn State University, where she majored in Climate Change and Communications. She has worked previously on market research, content creation and business intelligence.
Sattva has been working with various non-profits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.
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