Sector-specific sustainability reporting


The Association of German Public Insurers welcomes the initiative of the European Commission to lower the reporting obligations for companies by 25 per cent. With this in mind, the public insurers are in favour of the proposal to postpone the application of the sector-specific European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) in accordance with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) by two years. This ensures the provision of high-quality sustainability data for the necessary transformation of our economy. As Germany's second-largest primary insurer with a strong regional presence, the association strongly supports the goal of a more sustainable economy.

The association emphasises that insurers are already significant users and providers of sustainability information. The public insurers are signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and take sustainability criteria into account when making investment decisions. The Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) obliges insurers to extensively document the sustainability aspects of their investments. The Taxonomy Regulation, in particular Article 8, requires the disclosure of further sustainability indicators. Public insurers also expect the CSRD, in combination with the European Single Access Point (ESAP), to ensure that this data is made available in an immediately usable form and free of charge in a public database.

The association makes suggestions in three areas to further improve sustainability reporting:

1. The establishment of the CSRD as a central place for sustainability reporting
2. Proportionality in the practical implementation of the CSRD
3. Adequate implementation deadlines for Level II requirements

1. The establishment of the CSRD as a central place for sustainability reporting
The association shares the European Commission's assessment from the announcement "Long-term competitiveness of the EU: Looking beyond 2030" that a reduction in reporting obligations by a total of 25 percent is appropriate and possible without undermining the respective political objectives. Insurers already report extensively on sustainability aspects in accordance with statutory provisions: among other things in reporting under Solvency II on sustainability risks and under the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) on the sustainability impacts of investments. Further reporting obligations are highly likely to arise from the European legislative proposals that are still being negotiated.

The association therefore suggests examining the deletion of these sustainability reporting obligations for companies subject to the CSRD and considering the requirements of these and other legal provisions to be fulfilled by CSRD-reporting.

2. Proportionality in the practical implementation of the CSRD
The public insurers initiated the implementation of the CSRD at a very early stage. Even with the sector-agnostic standards, the implementation effort is considerably high, especially for small and medium-sized regional insurers as they face the same requirements as large, global groups. Initial discussions with auditors indicate very high expectations on the upcoming CSRD reports, which potentially conflict with the objective of proportionality. The European Commission stated in Recital 43 of the CSRD: "Sustainability reporting standards should be proportionate and should not impose an unnecessary administrative burden on companies that are required to use them." In addition, Article 3(20) of the CSRD provides: “Without prejudice to their civil liability regimes, Member States shall provide for effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions in respect of statutory auditors and audit firms, where statutory audits or assurance of sustainability reporting are not carried out in conformity with the provisions adopted in the implementation of this Directive, and, where applicable, with Regulation (EU) No 537/2014.” The association therefore suggests that, considering the 25 percent reduction in reporting obligations in accordance with the communication "Long-term competitiveness of the EU: Looking beyond 2030" and the proportionality enshrined in the CSRD, particular attention should also be paid to requirements in audits that go beyond the statutory provisions when interpreting this provision.

The association therefore proposes that, in the interests of the competitiveness of the European economy, the expectation of a proportionate implementation and audit on the part of the auditors be clearly communicated.

3. Adequate implementation deadlines for Level II requirements
The association strongly supports the postponement of sector-specific reporting obligations. In this legislative period, there have been short-term postponements of other sustainable finance act, for instance the Level II requirements of the SFDR.

In view of the complexity of sustainable finance, the European Commission should therefore generally choose longer implementation deadlines with regard to possible delays in the legislative process in order to avoid subsequent postponements and increase legal certainty for companies. Secondly, all implementation deadlines should relate to the finalisation of the necessary Level II legal acts and begin dynamically after publication in the Official Journal after a reasonable period of time.

The association also proposes that Level III documents be published well in advance. Although these are not legally binding, practice shows that they are essential for the implementation of almost all legal acts.

The public insurers support the European Commission in creating efficient and proportionate sustainability reporting and look forward to further dialogue on sustainable finance.

Contact Persons

Dr Wolfgang Eichert
Head of EU Representative Office Brussels
Department Political Affairs

T+32 476 83 09 71

Dr Christian Schwirten
Head of Department
Political Affairs

T+49 30 22 605 49-22


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