India's Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) have evolved from voluntary guidelines introduced in 2009 by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) and further refined in the Business Responsibility Report (BRR) of 2012. The Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has implemented the new BRSR framework for ESG reporting in FY 2022-23. Designed to align with global reporting frameworks such as GRI, SASB, and TCFD, BRSR introduces quantitative metrics for ESG factors.
Initially applicable to the top 1000 companies by market cap, SEBI later revised the BRSR, introducing BRSR Core based on ESG Advisory Committee recommendations. BRSR 2.0 highlights include:
1. BRSR Core: A subset with key performance indicators under 9 ESG attributes, subject to reasonable assurance.
2. Inclusion of Value Chain Partners: Covering 75% upstream and 75% downstream partners, reporting aims to create ESG awareness and mitigate risks.
BRSR Core applies to the top-listed entities, while ESG disclosures for the value chain extend to the top 250 listed entities on a comply-or-explain basis starting FY 2024-25. SEBI emphasizes the importance of obtaining limited assurance for comply-or-explain disclosures from FY 2025-26. Further details and documents are available in the provided circular links.
BRSR represents an evolution from the voluntary guidelines issued in 2009 by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). It introduces new reporting standards and aligns with internationally accepted frameworks like GRI, SASB, and TCFD.
BRSR Core is a subset of the BRSR, consisting of a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) under 9 ESG attributes. It is introduced for assurance by listed entities. BRSR Core applies to the top-listed entities based on market capitalization, ensuring reasonably assured ESG disclosures under specified KPIs. The applicability is phased out as follows:
- FY 2023–24: Top 150 listed entities
- FY 2024–25: Top 250 listed entities
- FY 2025–26: Top 500 listed entities
- FY 2026–27: Top 1000 listed entities
Yes, BRSR now includes reporting on value chain partners. Companies need to encompass 75% of their upstream and downstream partners in their ESG disclosures, focusing on purchases/sales by value.
BRSR Core assurance is not limited to Chartered Accountants; the appointed assurance provider should have sustainability expertise, as per the Board's discretion. The internal auditor of a listed entity or its group entities cannot be appointed for BRSR Core assurance. However, the statutory auditor of a listed entity is eligible for BRSR Core assurance. Assurance providers have the flexibility to use globally accepted standards like ISAE 3000 or ICAI standards (SSAE 3000 or SAE 3410) for the assurance process, with disclosure of the chosen standard.
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