ESRS 101: A guide to core CSRD metrics

ESRS 101: A guide to core CSRD metrics

May 22, 2024


Natasha Lambert

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) requires businesses to use the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) for reporting on their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance. This makes accurately tracking and managing ESG metrics more important than ever.

Navigating the ESRS can be challenging due to its complexity and extensive data requirements, with over 1,100 data points. To successfully produce a full CSRD report, businesses need to optimize their measurement processes from the start. This way, companies can not only ensure compliance, but also move beyond with impact-driven business strategies.

Understanding the ESRS

Adopted by the European Commission in July 2023, the ESRS framework includes 12 standards:

  • 10 topical standards: these contain a range of data points relating to sustainability topics on a granular level, structured according to the three main pillars of sustainability: Environmental, Social, and Governance.

  • 2 cross-cutting standards: ESRS 1 and ESRS 2 apply to all sustainability topics outlined in the E-S-G sections and apply to all organizations under the scope of the CSRD, regardless of their industry.

In short, the topical standards outline precise disclosure requirements for specific sustainability topics, while the cross-cutting standards establish overarching disclosure requirements that also need to be applied to the topical areas when identified as material.

Out of the 12 standards, only 11 include data points to be reported on:

  • ESRS 1 lays out the general requirements for the preparation and presentation of a company’s sustainability report, and as such does not cover any data points to be reported on.

  • ESRS 2 contains 193 mandatory data points on general information such as the company’s strategy and business model, governance and material topics are managed. It also includes“Minimum Disclosure Requirements” to be applied alongside specific information on material topics. 

  • The remaining 1,000 data points are within the topical standards. These are selected based on a double materiality assessment, which identifies relevant impacts, risks, and opportunities (IROs). For each topic, data points include policies and actions in place to manage material IROs, as well as metrics and targets to manage the effectiveness of the actions.

Navigating the huge number of data points within the topical standards can be complex and time-consuming, often leading companies to rely on expensive consulting services to meet the requirements. However, by focusing on core ESG metrics, companies can build a solid foundation for efficient CSRD reporting.

Key metrics for CSRD reporting

Atlas Metrics has identified a set of core metrics from the topical standards based on interoperability with other reporting regulations (SFDR), standardization with other reporting processes (KfW Capital reporting, Invest Europe, and EIF), and for coverage of both quantitative and qualitative KPIs. They serve as the foundation for benchmarking, measuring progress, and strengthening business sustainability strategies.

Environmental Series (ESRS E1 – E7)

Carbon metrics in Climate Change (E1)
  • Total scope 1, 2, and, 3 GHG emissions, and including breakdowns by scope categories;

  • GHG emissions intensity (total GHG emissions per net revenue).

Energy consumption in Climate Change (E1)
  • Total energy consumption;

  • Renewable energy consumption (to go a step further, report against the disaggregated values according to the ESRS options).

Water consumption in Water and marine resources (E3)
  • Total water consumption.

Biodiversity and Ecosystems (E4)
  • If the undertaking identified sites located in or near biodiversity-sensitive areas that it is negatively affecting.

Waste in Resource and Circular Economy (E5)
  • Total amount of waste generated;

  • Total amount and percentage of non-recycled waste;

  • Hazardous waste and radioactive waste.

Social Series (ESRS S1 – S4)

Employee numbers in Own Workforce (S1)
  • Total number of employees (headcount or full-time equivalent - FTE);

  • Total number of employees who have left ;

  • Rate of employee turnover in the reporting period;

  • A description of the methodologies and assumptions used to compile the data.

Diversity in Own Workforce (S1)
  • The gender distribution in number and percentage of the company’s top management level;

  • If all the company’s employees are paid an adequate wage;

  • Percentage of persons with disabilities amongst the company’s employees subject to legal restrictions on the collection of data.

Training and skill development in Own Workforce (S1)
  • The percentage of employees that participate in regular performance and career development reviews (to go a step further, report breakdown by gender);

  • The average number of training hours per employee and by gender.

Health and Safety in Own Workforce (S1)
  • The number of fatalities as a result of work-related injuries and work-related ill health.

Remuneration metrics in Own Workforce (S1)
  • The unadjusted gender pay gap.

Incidents, complaints, and severe human rights impacts (S1)
  • The total number of incidents of discrimination, including harassment;

  • The number of severe human rights incidents connected to the undertaking’s workforce.

Governance Series (ESRS G1)

Incidents of corruption or bribery
  • The total number of confirmed incidents of corruption or bribery;

  • The nature of confirmed incidents of corruption or bribery.

It is important to note that companies, where applicable, must report on their value chain information as required by the ESRS. EFRAG's implementation guidance provides a useful overview of these reporting details.

The key to successful CSRD reporting lies not only in tracking the right metrics but also in using the right tools and methods. 83% of companies say collecting accurate data for CSRD reporting will be a challenge. Atlas Metrics is a comprehensive solution for managing sustainability data, automating compliant reporting, and facilitating strategic decision-making. Get in touch with our experts to learn how to optimize your CSRD journey.

Simplify ESG
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Simplify ESG
Automate Compliance

Simplify ESG
Automate Compliance