26 Mar 2024

How to Use the B Impact Assessment as a Complementary Tool for Navigating CSRD Compliance

By Rebecca Addison
How to Use the B Impact Assessment as a Complementary Tool for Navigating CSRD Compliance

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) from the EU is a new stringent reporting standard which aims to standardise sustainability efforts. Due to the vast scope of topics that are covered throughout the CSRD (explained in more detail in this blog) knowing where to start and how to prepare can be overwhelming for many businesses.

This blog aims to highlight how your business can use the B Impact Assessment, the framework at the centre of B Corp Certification, as a tool to guide your organisation to CSRD reporting readiness.

 Uncovering the CSRD landscape

CSRD requires businesses to report on 12 disclosure topics, made up of two cross-cutting standards which apply to all sustainability matters and 10 topic specific standards which fall under the following environmental, social and governance (ESG) categories:

Environment Social Governance

Climate change

Pollution

Water and marine resources

Biodiversity

Ecosystems

Recourse use and circular economy

 

Own workforce

Workers in the value chain

Affected communities

Consumers and end-users

 

 

 

 

Business conduct

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CSRD also requires businesses to report on the impact that their business activities have on environmental and social topics, in addition to ESG efforts and initiatives that impact business operations and strategy.

These disclosure requirements are covered through both a retrospective and forward thinking lens, in addition to reporting from across the value and supply chain, upstream and downstream, and fall under different forms of data: narrative data, raw data and % calculations.

How can the BIA prepare organisations for CSRD?

The BIA is a free, online assessment used to evaluate the holistic ESG performance across five impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. At present, to become a certified B Corp, companies need to score a minimum of 80 points within the BIA and amend their company’s Articles of Association to commit to considering stakeholders in all decisions and actions.

The BIA provides strategic direction for how to effectively build sustainability into your business model, providing recommendations on policies, governance, principles and processes to capture data which will streamline your reporting experience. 

The CSRD and the BIA have a united overarching goal: to inspire transformational change in business. As a result, CSRD and the BIA exhibit significant correlation in their requirements and focus areas. Both frameworks emphasise governance, processes and targets, aligning closely on a wide range of sustainability topics.

As such, the BIA can be used as a complimentary framework to prepare you for meeting CSRD requirements. Whilst not exhaustive, the BIA subject topics cover a large proportion of the requirements which are necessary for the CSRD, helping to transform disclosure requirements into an operational strategy for responsible and sustainable growth. 

How does the BIA complement CSRD?

How does the BIA compliment the CSRD?

Going through the BIA can prepare businesses in the following areas:

  • Industry-specific customisation

The CSRD requires your organisation to report on matters which are financially and operationally material to your business, determined through a double materiality assessment.

As the BIA recognises that each industry has its own set of challenges and opportunities, it doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, the BIA tailors its questions to suit the specific needs of your sector.

Therefore, it can be used as a platform to help indicate pre-existing material issues within your industry whilst ensuring that your sustainability efforts are accurately measured and aligned with industry best practices, allowing you to report with robust ESG activities for CSRD.

  • From reporting to action

Sustainability reporting is not just about ticking boxes; it’s a call to action. The CSRD is part of the EU’s Green Deal and is a key component in meeting the EU’s ambition of being the first continent to reach net zero by 2050.

The aim of compliance is to bring about large-scale transformation, providing an opportunity for businesses to consider how to use regulation to set sustainability targets.

The BIA doesn’t stop at assessing your current sustainability practices. It transforms them into a strategic action plan. It helps to identify areas for improvement, set measurable targets, and turn your sustainability efforts into a powerful strategy that not only meets CSRD standards but propels your business towards a more sustainable future, allowing investors and customers to see year-on-year improvements in your CSRD reports. 

  • Transparent and comparable

The CSRD is all about transparency and comparability. The BIA, with its standardised approach, ensures that your sustainability data is not only transparent but easily comparable against industry benchmarks. This not only meets CSRD requirements but also enhances your credibility among stakeholders, investors, and consumers.

How does the BIA and CSRD differ?

A key distinction between the two frameworks lies in the CSRD’s mandate to disclose only financially and impactfully material topics, while the BIA encompasses all ESG best practices, irrespective of materiality to a specific business.

Nonetheless, the BIA supplements this general approach with industry-specific addenda that address material topics relevant to particular sectors, enhancing its relevance and applicability across a range of industries.

Ultimately, the B Impact Assessment is a supplementary tool that can provide a strategic advantage for companies gearing up for compliance.

Partner with Seismic to get reporting ready

At Seismic, we support businesses to develop their reporting and disclosure strategies. As your partner for change, we turn an ever-evolving landscape into actionable language with a pathway for success. Speak to our reporting and disclosure experts to learn more.