• India’s Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR)—a framework for environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting—comes into effect in 2023. These new reporting standards represent an evolution from the voluntary guidelines first issued in 2009 by India’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs, which were further refined in the Business Responsibility Report (BRR) of 2012.
  • In 2021, Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) was made mandatory for top-1,000 listed companies from 2022-23.
  • The Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI)—the regulatory body for securities markets in India—has now designed the new BRSR to be interoperable with other internationally accepted reporting frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
  • The BRSR is the first framework in India that requires Indian companies to provide quantitative metrics on sustainability-related factors, as of fiscal year 2023—for eligible companies, April 2022 to March 2023.
  • SEBI’s guidance document provides details on three kinds of disclosures—general, management and process, and “principle wise” (principle-based).
  • General disclosures encompass basic company information. This includes addresses of offices and plants, details of products and services (these should account for 90% of total business turnover), exchanges where the company is listed, and reporting boundary, i.e., whether disclosures refer to a standalone entity or part of a consolidated portfolio of companies.
  • Employee counts and representation by gender, diversity and inclusion and differently abled status are also required, along with data on employee turnover and number of complaints and grievances filed against the company.
  • Management and process disclosures provide evidence that companies are adhering to the structures, policies and processes specified in the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC).
  • Disclosures provided in this section are not about adherence to specific principles outlined in the NGRBC, but about higher-level policy and management processes, including statements by directors and boards regarding governance, leadership and oversight.
  • Companies need to show that policies not only exist, but they have been approved and enacted in the context of time-bound company goals.
  • Principle wise performance disclosures are focused on more quantitative data relating to 9 basic principles of the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC).
  • This set of disclosures within the BRSR is aimed at helping organizations demonstrate how their operations impact environmental and social metrics. Businesses need to demonstrate with clear data and examples on how they are integrating fundamental principles in their key processes and measuring these decisions through KPIs.
  • To this end, companies need to disclose the percentage of R&D and capital expenditure investment as well.

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