Editorial ESG News 5/2023

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Dear readers, 

Our ESG Day on October 12, 2023 in Munich highlighted the challenges associated with the implementation of sustainability reporting. This topic is so complex that it cannot be solved “in passing”. This makes it all the more important for you as an entrepreneur to approach the task in a planned manner right from the start. This includes knowing the exact requirements and setting the right course. An important decision is who should advise you on the implementation? We at Rödl & Partner are aware of our responsibility towards our clients and will do everything possible to provide you with the best possible support.
 
But what we can also take away from the ESG Day is the fact that we are all in the same boat and that sharing ideas helps us to understand the requirements and effectively align the implementation measures. Sharing ideas is very helpful in this regard, ideally on an interdisciplinary basis across companies and sectors. 
 
We have been guided by this experience and have summarized practical insights into some of the key areas affected by the ESG guidelines for you in this sixth edition of our ESG News in a compact and understandable way:

A central strategic element of the ESRS (European Sustainability Reporting Standards) is the materiality analysis. It is worthwhile for companies to deal with the requirements of dual materiality in detail and in good time. We have therefore prepared both a best practice case on materiality analysis and a Q&A on materiality analysis for you. Furthermore, there have already been some changes to the ESRS with regard to deadlines, guidance and further implementation. You can find all these important updates in the article “Update ESRS”. 
 
Another complex element is the EU taxonomy. This is due in part to the continued uncertainty of interpretation. In our article “Best Practice EU Taxonomy”, we would like to give you an insight into current application practice and address specific interpretations in the context of interpretation uncertainties.

A new topic area is “ESG rating”, which deals with the assessment of a company's business practices with regard to long-term environmental, social and governance risks. This includes, for example, energy efficiency, occupational safety and the independence of the management board. For further guidance, we have compiled an overview of ESG ratings for you. 
 
The financial sector has a key role to play in the Green Deal. Financial institutions should increasingly take sustainability aspects into account when granting corporate loans. In the article “Sustainable Finance”, we take a look at what companies currently need to consider when taking out corporate loans with regard to ESG issues and what the current developments in the market are.
Investors are prepared to reward sustainable business practices and a high ESG score with a premium on the purchase price. Pure speculation? Or are there already measurable correlations between sustainability and company value? We take a closer look at this topic and shed light on possible pitfalls when taking ESG into account in company valuations.

There are also hurdles in the energy sector, but also a lot of potential: In “Challenges of climate reporting”, we look at the various terms such as “climate neutrality”, “net zero” or “CO₂ neutrality”, highlight the requirements of climate reporting 2.0 and discuss the appropriate data for your company's greenhouse gas accounting.
 
Companies are part of the problem, but also part of the solution. In these times of climate change, companies must actively tackle the issue of decarbonization of the value chain and thus position themselves sustainably and future-proof. In the article “Sustainability pays off – focus on public funding”, you can also read about the most important aspects of promoting energy and resource efficiency and learn about “home remedies” for achieving political objectives.

Recent years have clearly shown that energy saving and optimized energy procurement have the potential to provide decisive competitive advantages in the business models of German industry and public utilities. An energy audit helps to better exploit the existing potential. For non-SMEs, they are mandatory every four years, but for SMEs too, energy audits – which are strongly promoted by the legislator – represent the first step towards an energy-efficient future. 
 
 
I hope that this thoroughly practical edition of our ESG News will provide you with assistance and answers and wish you an inspiring read. If you require any further information or have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us personally.

Your Martin Wambach

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