BRSR SEBI Format: Step-By-Step Guide

by | Dec 10, 2023 | ESG, Sustainability

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The SEBI has created the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) framework to simplify environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosure obligations for India’s listed corporations. The BRSR SEBI Format, as a vital step in the journey towards responsible business conduct, aims to develop a standardized structure for ESG reporting and promote transparency in disclosing non-financial criteria and sustainability goals. This in-depth study examines the significance of the BRSR SEBI Format, its reporting structure, and its impact on corporate India.

Understanding the BRSR Format

The BRSR SEBI Format was developed in response to the need for the seamless integration and alignment of numerous regulatory frameworks and compliance requirements covering environmental, social, and governance criteria. SEBI guarantees that companies in India adhere to responsible business practices and publicly disclose their non-financial measures and sustainability goals by providing a standardized reporting format. Companies are expected to publish their BRSR report with their annual report, which integrates financial performance and ESG disclosures. This alignment of financial and non-financial disclosures provides a clear picture of a company’s operations.

The primary goal of this reporting structure is to act as a secret weapon for organizations looking to align with the NGRBC. There are three sections to the reporting structure:

BRSR SEBI Format: Step-By-Step Guide

Section A: General Information

This section gathers fundamental information and details about the listed entity, such as its products and services, operations, staff, transparency and disclosure standards and compliances, subsidiary firms, holdings, joint ventures, etc.

  1. The specified entity’s Corporate Identity Number (CIN), name, year of establishment, registered office address, and corporate address are all listed.
  2. Details about the entity’s items and services, like business activities that account for 90% of total revenue and items and services sold by the firm that account for 90% of total revenue.
  3. The number of sites where the entity’s factories and operations/offices are located. This also contains the entity’s markets served, stakeholders, and the contribution of exports as a percentage of total revenue.
  4. Employee information includes the overall number of employees and workers after a fiscal year, the number of differently-abled employees and workers, women’s involvement, inclusion, and representation, and the turnover rate for permanent employees and workers.
  5. Information about Holding, Subsidiary, Associate Companies, and joint ventures.
  6. Details on Corporate Social Responsibility, such as if CSR is required by Section 135 of the Companies Act of 2013, as well as turnover and net worth in rupees.
  7. Transparency and Disclosures of the Entity Complaints or grievances on any of the nine National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct principles, as well as an outline of the entity’s main responsible business conduct issues.

Section B: Management and Process Disclosures

This section contains information about the entities and Governance, Leadership, and Oversight.

  1. Do your entity’s policies cover each NGRBC premise and critical element? Has your Board of Directors authorized the policies? If available, a web link to the guidelines.
  2. Has your organization turned its policies into procedures?
  3. Does your insurance cover your value chain partners?
  4. Names of national and international codes, certificates, labels, and standards that your organization has embraced and assigned to each principle. These codes or badges may be Forest Stewardship Council, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, or SA 8000, whereas the standards could be OHSAS, ISO, or BIS.
  5. Specific pledges, aims, and targets are established by the entity with timetables.
  6. The entity’s performance concerns specific commitments, goals, and targets and the reasons for failing to fulfil them.

Governance, Leadership, and Oversight:

  1. Statement from the director in charge of the corporate responsibility report addressing ESG-related issues, goals, and accomplishments.
  2. Details about the highest authority implementing and overseeing the Business Responsibility policy or policies.
  3. Is there a specific Committee of the Board or a Director in charge of making decisions on sustainability-related issues? If so, what are the specifics?
  4. The entity’s review of the NGRBCs in detail.
  5. Is the entity conducting an impartial examination or evaluation of the operation of its policies by an outside agency? If affirmative, the entity must specify the agency’s name.

Section C: Principle-Wise Performance Disclosures

Companies must demonstrate their aim and dedication to responsible business behaviour through activities and outcomes under this provision. In this regard, businesses must report on KPIs in compliance with the NGRBC’s nine principles of responsible business conduct.

The Nine NGRBC Principles:

  1. Businesses must operate and manage themselves with integrity in an ethical, transparent, and accountable manner.
  2. Businesses should deliver goods and services sustainably and securely.
  3. Businesses should respect and support the well-being of all employees, including those who are part of their value chain.
  4. Businesses must respect and respond to the interests of all stakeholders.
  5. Human rights should be respected and promoted by businesses.
  6. Businesses should respect the environment and work to conserve and restore it.
  7. When influencing public and regulatory policy, businesses must be responsible and honest.
  8. Businesses should encourage inclusive and equitable growth.
  9. Businesses must interact with and deliver value to their customers responsibly.

Furthermore, organizations must report on two parameters for each principle, which are:

Essential indicators (Mandatory)

The indicators the firm must report include environmental data such as energy, emissions, water, and trash; training; community efforts made by the company; and social effects created by the organization.

Leadership indicators (Voluntary)

These indicators still need to be disclosed by the company. On the other hand, there is a broader expectation that corporations will comply with these measures to promote openness and accountability. This might involve monitoring scope 3 emissions and a breakdown of energy use and assessing the health and safety of value chain partners. The leadership indicators are concerned with providing a more comprehensive picture of the company’s operations in terms of sustainability.

The Importance of Adhering to the BRSR Format Set by SEBI

BRSR SEBI Format is crucial for business owners and authorities in a variety of ways, including:

  • Better Market Positioning: According to current market analysis reports, organizations that use BRSR Reporting in India as their goal and basic premise have been more profitable than their competitors.
  • Increased Market Share: Several businesses have realized or are realizing that investing in environmental and social problems will improve their business sustainability, provide them with a competitive advantage over competitors and clients, and pave the door for new markets.
  • Attracting Investor Capital: Stockholders are growing more aware of the market overview of businesses with sustainable planning and BRSR reporting in India and their influence on customers, which motivates them to fund companies with this strategy.
  • Social Permission to Operate: Because of the growing awareness among communities and consumers, businesses in India are under increasing pressure to meet their BRSR SEBI Format accountabilities.
  • Getting More Employment: Employers who demonstrate drive and accountability are becoming popular among employees to attract superior staff.

Key Differences between BRSR and Previous Reporting Formats by SEBI

The Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report supersedes the Business Responsibility Report (BRR), which was mandated in 2012 by the SEBI for the top 100 listed businesses by market capitalization. Companies were required to file BRRs following the National Voluntary Guidelines (NVGs) issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) in 2009. The BRR requirement was broadened to the top 500 Indian listed businesses in 2015 and the top 1,000 enterprises in 2019.

The MCA formed a committee in November 2018 to investigate the reporting format for listed and unlisted Indian companies to comply with the National Guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC). The committee proposed in its report that the BRR incorporate ESG disclosures and be renamed the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR).

The BRSR was established by the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) based on a 2018 study undertaken in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (IICA-UNICEF study). The investigation revealed flaws in the SEBI-BRR system, namely that the information provided by the corporations needed to be more transparent and reliable. As a result, the BRSR was created to improve on the BRR and require firms to report their non-financial performance with greater openness.

To emphasize sustainability and business responsibility, the nomenclature was modified from Business Responsibility Reporting (BRR) to Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR). There are several noticeable differences:

BRR

  • Applies to the top 1,000 listed firms in terms of market capitalization.
  • Disclosures will be included in the yearly report.
  • Only quantitative disclosures are permitted.
  • There is just one universal template.

BRSR

  • From FY2023, the top 1,000 listed companies by market value will be affected. Shortly, it is expected to apply to all listed and unlisted companies.
  • Disclosures will be made in the annual report and one MCA21 portal using two XBRL languages.
  • Both quantitative and qualitative disclosures are required.
  • There are two formats:
  1. Comprehensive: For significant firms and companies already reporting under the Listing Regulations (this format includes the three sections specified in the structure below).
  2. Lite: For businesses with no prior experience with sustainability reporting (this format demands fewer details and information than is requested of all companies).

MCA21 is an e-governance initiative of the Government of India’s Ministry of Company Affairs (MCA). It provides corporates, professionals, and Indian citizens easy access to MCA services. XBRL (extensible business reporting language) is a computer program language based on XM that was developed to automate corporate information requirements such as the generation, distribution, and analysis of financial reports, statements, and audit schedules.

BRSR is more thorough than BRR and will be an excellent communication tool for exposing an organization’s non-financial performance. Rating agencies and assurance providers could conduct a better job with the support of BRSR. It is also intended to improve the landscape of ESG reporting in India while offering consistency.

How to Successfully Implement the BRSR Format in Corporate Reporting?

Companies who want to submit a BRSR because they are among the top 1,000 publicly traded companies by market capitalization or because they voluntarily choose to do so can employ this four-step process.

  • Understanding the New Format with Expert Assistance: The first step for businesses would be to understand what a BRSR SEBI Format is intended to contain. The essential requirements are mentioned in a SEBI circular dated May 10, 2021, with more specific information accessible in Annexures I and II. Companies can seek expert help to comprehend the BRSR requirements and filing format.
  • Create a Reporting Timeframe for Efficient Compliance: The second step in the process is to create a compliance timetable and work within it. When numerous teams are involved in the disclosure process, a timeframe is an absolute must. The senior management and sustainability reporting teams may need to collaborate to develop corporate responsibility disclosures.
  • Obtain XBRL Reporting Assistance from a Technology Provider: Creating XBRL reports is a technological process that in-house compliance teams cannot perform independently. Companies must select XBRL reporting software or service providers who have technical skills. XBRL is a machine-readable format that improves the accessibility, analysis, and comparability of reports.
  • Companies that Have Already Filed a BRSR Should be Followed: Companies producing their initial BRSR documents can lead to the reports of companies that have already met the requirement.

Conclusion

The BRSR SEBI Format represents a crucial step towards standardized ESG reporting for India’s listed corporations. By matching financial and non-financial disclosures, BRSR reporting encourages openness, accountability, and responsible business conduct. Companies will be better positioned to manage ESG risks and opportunities, attract global investors, and achieve long-term sustainable growth as corporate India embraces the BRSR framework. For Indian organizations devoted to sustainability, BRSR is crucial, assisting them in improving transparency, risk management, innovation, and stakeholder engagement. The framework can be enhanced to better comply with global standards, including simplification, clarity, and scope expansion.

FAQs

Q1. Is the BRSR report mandatory?

Application of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting BRSR Reporting has been made mandatory for the top 1,000 listed businesses by market capitalization beginning in fiscal year 2022-23 under the new Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting criteria.

Q2. What are the BRSR key performance indicators?

SEBI has established ESG disclosures for listed firms in a standardized manner through BRSR reporting. With the Indian / Emerging market environment in mind, a few new KPIs for assurance have been defined, such as company openness, job creation in small towns, gross earnings provided to women, etc.

Q3. What is the significance of BRSR reporting?

Companies can benefit from BRSR reporting in various ways, including increased stakeholder involvement, risk management, creativity, cost savings, trust in the company, better reputation, and long-term economic development.

Also Read: Sebi ESG Rules: Stringent But In the Right Direction

 

Author

  • Farhan Khan

    Farhan is an accomplished Sustainability Consultant with 6-7 years of experience, He specializes in the design and execution of innovative sustainability strategies that not only mitigate environmental impact but also foster social responsibility, thereby enhancing overall business performance. With hands-on experience in ESG and BRSR reporting, as well as a wide array of assessments including gap, baseline, midline, impact, and value chain across various regions in India, Farhan brings a strategic and comprehensive approach to sustainability initiatives.

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