4 June 2024

ESRS Standards: guidelines for drawing up and translating the new Sustainability Reports

Categoria: Linguistic Services

The ESRS Standards (European Sustainability Reporting Standards) are the cornerstone of the new European regulatory framework for sustainability reporting.

These Standards are on their way to becoming an essential benchmark for all companies operating in the European Union and who will soon have to report on their performance in terms of environmental, social and governance impacts.

In this article, we explore in detail what the ESRS Standards are and provide practical guidelines on how to draw up and translate Sustainability Reports in accordance with the new Standards, ensuring effective, accurate and reliable reporting on a global scale.

What are ESRS Standards?

ESRS Standards are the standards developed by EFRAG (European Financial Reporting Advisory Group) with the aim of standardizing and harmonizing sustainability reporting within the European Union.

Introduced as an integral part of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), the ESRS Standards aim at improving the transparency and comparability of information on the ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) impact of European companies. Their purpose is to boost companies’ sustainable reporting efforts and culture by making the information provided more usable to investors, regulators and other stakeholders.

The ESRS Standards developed by EFRAG are divided into three categories:

  • Transversal (cross-cutting): These are the first two standards, ESRS1 General Prescriptions and ESRS2 General Information, which define general requirements for the preparation and presentation of sustainability-related information, and are applicable to any subject area and sector;
  • Thematic: These are the principles pertaining to the three macro areas Environment (tot. 5), Social (tot. 4) and Governance (tot. 1), which are also cross-sectoral, i.e., applicable to all enterprises regardless of their sector;
  • Sectoral: These are the sector-specific principles, which EFRAG to date is still working on and which should become available soon to guide the identification of material impacts, risks and opportunities common to all companies in a given sector.

The ESRS Standards define detailed indicators and metrics that companies must adopt in order to measure and report on their performance. This uniform method makes it possible to compare sustainability performance across companies and sectors, making it easier for stakeholders and investors to acquire and compare information.

ESRS compliance is mandatory for all companies subject to the CSRD, including not only the large listed companies, but also SMEs. Expanding the scope of the Directive is intended to spread a more inclusive and comprehensive sustainable reporting culture, promoting greater corporate responsibility and the transition to a more sustainable economy.

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The preparation of Sustainability Reports according to the ESRS Standards

Preparing a Sustainability Report that complies with the ESRS Standards requires a thorough understanding of the guidelines and metrics defined by EFRAG. The process begins with the work of collecting the data to be disclosed regarding the environmental, social and governance impacts of corporate activities. It is essential that this not inconsiderable amount of data be collected in a systematic, comprehensive and documented manner, using measurement tools and methodologies that ensure reliability and verifiability.

Once the data collection phase is finished, we move on to the analysis and interpretation of the information, so as to identify the main areas of impact and opportunities for improvement, considering parameters such as greenhouse gas emissions, the use of natural resources, respect for human rights, and many other significant issues.

The report, or rather, the Sustainability Statement, according to the Italian translation of the standard, must offer a comprehensive and balanced view of the company’s sustainability performance, highlighting all the progress made as well as the challenges that remain.

It is essential that the report be structured in clear and consistent sections, following the specific indications of the ESRS Standards. Each section, in regard to the material issues, i.e., identified as relevant to the company, should include a detailed description of the policies, actions and quantitative performance data and objectives, together with a commentary on the results achieved, especially with reference to the targets that have not been met. The language must be precise and transparent, avoiding excessive technicalities that could compromise accessibility to and understanding of the information.

Lastly, the report must undergo an internal and external audit process to ensure its quality and accuracy, including an audit by an independent entity (“assurance”), certifying its compliance with the ESRS Standards. Transparent reporting and a commitment to continuous improvement of sustainability practices are key elements in building stakeholder trust and strengthening the corporate reputation.

Translation of Sustainability Reports according to the ESRS Standards

Translation of the Sustainability Report compliant with the ESRS Standards is a strategic lever to make it accessible to an international audience. This process requires the intervention of translators specializing in sustainability issues with a solid understanding of ESRS-specific terminology. The terminological accuracy with respect to the official translation of the standard is indeed essential to maintaining consistency, accuracy and conformity of the data disclosed in the reporting.

The first step in translating a Sustainability Report is to outsource the project to specialized translators who have experience in the field of sustainability and familiarity with the ESRS Standards. These professionals must be able to interpret concepts and metrics correctly, translating them clearly and accurately into the target language. It is essential that the translation team understand the context and implications of the information disclosed, so as to prevent errors that would risk compromising the credibility of the report.

During the translation process, it is also important to maintain a collaborative approach between the authors of the original document and the team responsible for translating the report, in order to ensure that any doubts or ambiguities are promptly clarified and that the translation faithfully reflects the intent and content of the original text. The use of CSRD- and ESRS-specific glossaries and terminology guides in this context facilitates consistency of terminology and improves the overall quality of the translation.

Once the translation is completed, the report must go through a rigorous process of review and proofreading by experts in the sector. This step is crucial for identifying and correcting any oversights or inaccuracies, ensuring that the translated version maintains the same standards of quality, accuracy and compliance as the original report. These checks are critical for ensuring that the language is appropriate for the target audience, taking into account cultural and linguistic differences.

Finally, publication of the translated version of the report must be accompanied by transparent, inclusive, accessible communication that facilitates its dissemination to and understanding by international stakeholders. This commitment to clarity, accuracy and inclusiveness reinforces stakeholder trust and enhances the company’s ethical and responsible role globally.

Translate your Sustainability Report with Way2Global

With over 30 years of experience and more than 600 million words translated, Way2Global is the authoritative reference for translation of Sustainability Reports.

The quality of our translations is attested by three ISO certifications and by a network of 8,604 specialized translators. The flexibility of our organization enables us to handle the most challenging projects with speed and precision. Additionally, being a Benefit Corporation and a certified B Corp, we ourselves are committed to always reporting on the impact we generate in the ESG areas, and we love to collaborate with standard-setters to develop and define the new frontier of European regulation.

Choosing Way2Global for translation of the Sustainability Report means relying on an experienced, authoritative language partner who knows how to effectively communicate your sustainability performance internationally.

Contact us now to discover how we can support you.

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    Laura Gori is the Founder and CEO of Way2Global, a women-led translation agency startup with a Benefit ethos. After 30 years at the helm of a small multinational localization company, Laura decided to make a fresh start and founded Way2Global to conduct business in a way that benefits society and the environment, while promoting corporate growth. A fervent advocate of Benefit Corporations and women’s empowerment, Laura takes every opportunity to spread awareness on these issues and contribute to a fairer, more egalitarian and sustainable economy for all.
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