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Most companies plan to align sustainability reporting with CSRD

"We’re seeing CSRD’s impact extend far beyond those subject to the regulation."
Melodie Michel
Most companies plan to align sustainability reporting with CSRD
Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

A majority of global companies are planning to align their sustainability reporting with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) voluntarily, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by reporting platform Workiva among 2,000 professionals in North America, the UK and Asia Pacific, reveals that 81% of companies not subject to CSRD still intend to comply. The data suggests that the EU’s flagship regulation is perceived as the ‘gold standard’ of integrated reporting, amid a certain level of consolidation around sustainability standards globally.

“The adoption of the CSRD was a pivotal moment, marking the first major regulation calling for integrated financial and sustainability disclosures with third-party assurance. Now, as companies around the world gear up for their first mandated CSRD reports in 2025, we’re seeing CSRD’s impact extend far beyond those subject to the regulation,” said Paul Volpe, Senior Vice President of Growth Solutions at Workiva. 

This decision also seems to be driven by a recognition that strong sustainability reporting presents financial and commercial opportunities: 88% of survey respondents agree that having a strong ESG reporting programme gives them a competitive advantage.

Sustainability reporting challenges

The complexity of reporting under different regulatory requirements may also be driving firms to align themselves with CSRD, one of the most demanding disclosure regimes worldwide, to avoid having to catch up with their home regulation as it becomes more stringent. 

Most sustainability practitioners (87%) agree that ensuring compliance amid a patchwork of evolving sustainability reporting regulations is challenging, and 59% say ESG regulation has disrupted their company’s reporting processes. 

Additionally, an increasing number of companies are involving three or more internal teams in the reporting process: their number went from 71% last year to 78% this year.

“What struck me from the 2024 ESG Practitioner Survey is that regulation is serving as a catalyst for innovation. Companies are seizing the opportunity to improve their sustainability disclosures, effectively making assured integrated reporting the gold standard in corporate reporting,” said Paul Dickinson, a member of Workiva’s ESG Advisory Council and the Founder Chair of CDP. 

“It's a testament to practitioners’ adaptability as we navigate a new era in corporate transparency. However, the survey also revealed that while the majority of respondents have confidence in their data, regulation poses significant hurdles for their teams.”

But despite their intention to comply with CSRD, companies know the exercise will be challenging, particularly disclosing their sustainability strategy (69%) and risk management strategy (72%) and obtaining third-party assurance (77%). Perhaps for that reason, a wide majority (89%) plan to allocate more budget to sustainability technology in the next three years.