SEBI’s BRSR Guidelines

by | Oct 12, 2023 | Sustainability

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The Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), India’s securities market regulator, has now designed the new BRSR to be compatible with other internationally recognized reporting frameworks like the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). The BRSR Guidelines in India mandate Indian enterprises to disclose quantitative measures on sustainability-related variables beginning in fiscal year 2023 for eligible companies.

Overview of SEBI’s BRSR Guidelines

There has never been a greater focus on how businesses manage and explain their sustainability implications. Sustainability reporting has grown significantly in response to the increased interest of many stakeholders in how firms manage their impacts. Simultaneously, the variety of repercussions that stakeholders seek to understand better has expanded. Recently, there has been an increased focus on various topics, ranging from the effects of commerce on nature to ongoing challenges of economic, racial, or gender inequality – to the escalating impacts of climate change.

Communicating these consequences clearly and accurately through sustainability reporting offers different stakeholders the information they can use to understand and evaluate organizations’ performance on various issues and shape their evaluations and decision-making processes. Standards give importance to ensuring that people reporting the information and those consuming the information speak the same language as the demand for sustainability information develops among stakeholder groups.

Stakeholders Empowerment Services (SES), in collaboration with the National Stock Exchange (NSE), has conceived 38 sector-specific integrated guides to the BRSR format, as well as a sector-agnostic integrated guide, to better assist listed entities in complying with the updated disclosure requirements and sensitizing them to the rules and regulations associated with the new format requirements. These extensive guidelines explain each parameter of the format, its goal for such disclosure, and detailed guidelines on measuring and disclosing such parameters.

BRSR Integrated Guidelines – Special Features

  • 38 distinct guidelines based on the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s (SASB) 38 sub-sectors, as well as a sector-agnostic integrative guideline
  • Linked to the Standardized Industry Classification System of the SEBI
  • Connected to the Five Global Reporting Frameworks (GRI, SDG, TCFD, CDP, and SASB)
  • Proprietary SES-based guidance Model ESG Guidance for Reporting Disclosures on the Three Steps of Excellence:
  1. Disclosure Requirements (Key BRSR Indicators)
  2. Voluntary Disclosures (Indicators of Leadership BRSR)
  3. Sector-specific disclosures (Following Global Best practices)

SEBI Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting Goals

The following are the SEBI Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting objectives:

  • To encourage listed companies to be more sustainable.
  • To assist publicly traded firms in improving their sustainability performance by offering a framework for assessing and managing their ESG impacts.
  • To assist listed firms in improving their transparency and credibility by releasing information about their sustainability performance to stakeholders.

Also Read: What Is Corporate Sustainability? And Why Is It Necessary?

Adapting to the BRSR Guidelines: Best Practices for Indian Companies

The BRSR Guidelines originated from the existing BRR and NGRBC principles derived from the Social Development Goals (SDGs). The UN SDGs form the backbone of the NGRBC Principles; each of the 9 Principles that form the fundamental foundation of BRSR reporting has been connected with the 17 SDGs.

According to the MCA study, BRSR should serve as “a single holistic source of non-monetary sustainability-related data important to all business stakeholders – stakeholders such as shareholders, investors, regulators, and the public.

According to the MCA committee’s suggestion, the requirement for disclosure may be expanded to firms that are not listed based on specific revenue or paid-up capital thresholds. Furthermore, the committee proposes that smaller unlisted companies under this threshold limit voluntarily adopt a stripped-down version of the format. Two disclosure formats are available: a thorough design for publicly traded corporations and a lite version for unlisted companies if it is extended to them.

Application of Corporate Social Responsibility and BRSR Reporting has been made compulsory 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. Other companies may voluntarily submit BRSRs starting in 2021-22. The market capitalization would be computed as of 31 March of each fiscal year to determine the implementation of the requirement.

Companies who are required to comply with SEBI BRSR Guidelines criteria must invest in appropriate systems that can assist in the following areas:

  • Selection of the organization’s relevant and applicable ESG requirements
  • Enable data collection for reporting on the selected ESG problems.
  • Companies can adopt an appropriate framework and related indicators to facilitate transparent and accurate reporting.
  • The level of assurance that will be provided for such reporting.

Ensuring Consistency and Relevance in Sustainability Reporting

Businesses have long employed natural and human capital, among other things, to generate commodities and services that society requires. The resulting waste was relegated to the environment, which was believed to be a replenishable and limitless resource. On the other hand, this resource utilization method is environmentally exploitative and unsustainable, as evidenced by rising social and economic inequality, natural resource scarcity, and pollution aggravated by climate change. There is a growing awareness and activism among stakeholders, particularly businesses and society in general, demanding accountability from enterprises for their social and environmental repercussions.

The rise in Sustainability Reporting has been driven by three factors: pressure from stakeholder groups on companies to disclose information, particularly on the negative impact of their operations; increased governmental regulation on these issues to protect citizens and the environment’s rights; and, most importantly, market demand, which has required companies (suppliers/manufacturers/producers) that are part of Global Value Chains and are partners of MNCs to report on these issues.

Sustainability reporting allows organizations to share environmental and social effects information with the public and many stakeholders. This type of reporting is crucial because it provides openness, accountability, and insight into the performance of an organization. A sustainability report can also show the relationship between a company’s business model and environmental impact.

A good sustainability report can raise awareness among investors, clients, and other stakeholders about a company’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact and disclose specific risks and opportunities. Sustainability regular reporting can also improve a company’s long-term performance and sustainability by giving reliable, data-driven decision-making information to support crucial decisions.

Creating a report that provides stakeholders with a relevant, balanced, and true story is no easy task – what is important to one group may be insignificant to another. Regardless of your stakeholders’ diverse expectations and interests, here are three crucial recommendations for preparing a solid sustainability report to benefit all businesses.

BRSR Guidelines


1. Use a competent sustainability reporting structure

Nothing is worse than a sustainability report that lacks direction or structure; fortunately, sustainability reporting frameworks are already available for firms to adopt! Choose a good sustainability reporting framework as a first step towards guaranteeing an adequate system in your report. Global Reporting Index (GRI), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) are examples of existing systems. Using a framework to organize your sustainability data collecting and reporting increases the reliability of your final report.

2. Be familiar with sustainable reporting standards and legislation

Another crucial business consideration when developing a sustainability report is understanding which standards and legislation apply to you and your company! Every firm must know specific requirements when implementing sustainability in its operations. As more and more new rules and laws are created and quickly implemented, staying up with regulatory standards and avoiding fines and penalties for being ignorant can be challenging.

3. Make sure there is transparency and traceability

We can only talk about reporting by mentioning the importance of transparency. Corporate sustainability reporting aims to give businesses and their stakeholders a greater understanding of their effect and the progress and outcomes of their sustainability activities. But, no matter how much information and data a company offers in its sustainability report, it will only matter if stakeholders believe the information is genuine and correct – this is where transparency and traceability come into play. By incorporating transparency and traceability into your sustainability reporting procedures, you will be able to obtain credibility and trust from your stakeholders and the general public, which is essential for any form of sustainable value generation.

Your data must be transparent and traceable for your sustainability reporting to be transparent and traceable. Learn why data transparency and traceability are vital for sustainability and how to implement them.

Exploring the Link between BRSR Guidelines and Stakeholder Trust

The concept of BRSR has specific importance in the framework of the modern economy and the corporation’s function in contemporary society. Stakeholders encourage organizations to adopt a more comprehensive social behavior and to balance the need for profitability and the need to contribute to the local community, social equity, and environmental protection. A substantial public interest in these corporate social activities and attempts for openness resulted in establishing a new type of reporting – non-financial or BRSR. These reports go beyond mere financial ones, giving insight into organizational corporate social actions aimed at the well-being of numerous stakeholders while considering their various economic, social, and environmental concerns into account.

Stakeholders, particularly investors and customers, have become more demanding of transparent business activities. As a result, the number of BRS reports released by corporations worldwide alongside their financial statements (so-called integrated reports) is increasing. Nonetheless, the quantity and quality of these reports vary, influenced not only by the political, social, and cultural context (including historical legacies, cultural context, and legislative environment) but also by company characteristics (industry, size, profitability, corporate governance mechanisms, stakeholder pressures, and ownership structure).

As a result, many past studies are targeted to a specific business or sector, give national focus analysis, compare BRSR report practices in many countries, or analyze the influence of certain elements, such as financial issues, on the quality of BRSR reports. Stakeholder theory emphasizes the distinct role that various organizational stakeholders play and their impact on organizational social behavior. Furthermore, organizational social behavior is influenced by the organization’s relationships with its constituents. The levels of the organization determine stakeholders and the strength and direction of these relationships, and its stakeholders are resource-dependent. As a result, the BRSR quality of the stakeholders to whom the reports are directed is inextricably linked with the reporting referred to. However, it is essential to emphasize that corporate social responsibility is motivated by many competing goals and interdependence among various stakeholders and their requirements. Capturing and balancing these varied interests creates the most challenging problem organizations encounter with their corporate social responsibility activities and reporting.

Also Read: BRSR Reporting: All You Need To Know

Bottom Line

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) developed the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) framework to assist listed companies in reporting on their sustainability performance. The BRSR guidelines are based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, a global framework for reporting on sustainability. The BRSR framework mandates publicly traded corporations to provide complete, transparent information about their sustainability performance. Information on the company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance is among the necessary disclosures. The BRSR framework’s goal is to encourage sustainability among publicly traded enterprises. The framework is intended to assist publicly traded firms in improving their sustainability performance by offering a framework for assessing and managing their ESG impacts. The framework is also expected to help listed companies improve their transparency and credibility by releasing information about their sustainability performance to stakeholders.


Q1. Is BRSR mandatory?

SEBI specifies that till the fiscal year 2021-2022, the top 1000 listed businesses based on market capitalization must submit a BRR in their annual report; after that, in the fiscal year 2022-2023, such listed organizations must submit a BRSR.

Q2. What is the significance of BRSR reporting?

BRSR enables firms to transparently communicate their sustainability performance, issues, and opportunities to their stakeholders. Reporting on several ESG dimensions, such as environmental effects, social and community development, governance practices, and economic performance, is part of BRSR.

Q3. What is the penalty for BRSR noncompliance?

According to a SEBI circular, exchanges can levy a punishment of Rs. 50,000 per instance for failure to acquire in-principle approval of bourses before the issue of securities.

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



  • Dr. Tanushree Kain

    Tanushree is a passionate Environmentalist with a Doctorate in Environmental Sciences. She is also a Gold medalist in Master of Science (M.Sc), Environmental Sciences. She has 6 years of experience as a guest faculty in Environmental Sciences. With her combination of technical knowledge and research expertise, she can create clear, accurate, and engaging content that helps users get the maximum information regarding environmental topics.


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