Environmental, Social and Governance
RBI’s BRSR mandate is driving India’s green transition and standardizing the ESG framework
19 Jul 2022
The pandemic brought numerous challenges for everyone around the world. It also gave us time to pause and reflect on the issue of providing a sustainable, greener, and better future for our succeeding generations. The impact of climate change is increasingly seen and felt as it plays out across the globe. Hence, sustainability is becoming a priority for corporates. Today, businesses have to aim beyond just being profit-oriented; they also need to care for the environment.  This has resulted in companies coming out with sustainability reports disclosing their performance on environmental, social, and governance parameters as a part of reporting non-financial performance metrics.
What is Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR)?
In March 2021, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) proposed an ESG framework covering Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) related disclosure requirements; this framework is called the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) framework.
The BRSR policies are grounded on the National Guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC), which require every business’s reporting must be on these nine thematic pillars:

  1. The conduct must be ethical, transparent, and accountable.
  2. Offer sustainable and safe goods and services
  3. Preserve the well-being of all employees.
  4. Regard the interests of all stakeholders.
  5. Be thoughtful towards human rights.
  6. Take into account the environmental aspect.
  7. Must be responsible and transparent while engaging and influencing the public.
  8. Nurture growth and equitable development.
  9. Responsibly deal with consumers
BRSR is an ESG investing framework that entails corporate strategy, broad oversight, risk management, performance, and communication of companies. Also, BRSR addresses reputational and regulatory risks. Moreover, the critical role of BRSR is to align various regulatory frameworks with the long-term sustainability goals of the company.
CII recently inaugurated Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting training programs for all professionals to provide corporate practitioners and support companies in benchmarking. The program will assist the participant in building a roadmap of BRSR with other globally used ESG metrics and disclosures.
Connection with ESG
Nowadays, every company must submit a statement highlighting ESG-related challenges, targets, and achievements.  It is mandatory to recognize the potential risks and opportunities the company faces in its journey towards creating a socially and environmentally aware company.
The increasing climate consciousness among Indian companies is visible from the rising number of those devoted to the Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi). Science-Based Targets are targets for reducing GHG emissions and the level of decarbonization that, as per climate science, are required to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5-2ºC compared to pre-industrial temperature levels. This ensures that the company is taking action to diminish emissions at a pace that is in line with keeping warming below 1.5º/ well-below 2C.
It is estimated that by 2020, 52 companies have committed to SBTi with a remarkable growth of more than 37% over 2019, as per CDP. Also, India is now the leader of emerging economies as leading companies are devoted to SBTi; it stands at the sixth position.
Listed below are a few examples of Indian companies pledging to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.
  • A leading Indian IT Company has taken the lead in cutting emissions with the help of advanced water system controls and transitioning from leased to owned facilities, thereby consolidating the company’s use of office space and reducing its carbon footprint. 
  • Another leading multinational Indian automobile manufacturing company has committed to reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 47% and Scope 3 GHG emissions by 30% by 2033. 
  • A leading Indian integrated mining and resources producer of zinc, lead, silver and cadmium commissioned a solar power plant with a 12 MW capacity to increase its renewable energy portfolio, which reduces Its carbon footprint by approximately 14,000 MT a year.
  • Leading cement Giant  had committed to the SBTi framework in July 2020. In March 2021, it became the second Indian cement company to have its emissions reduction aims verified by the SBTi.
  • Another of India’s top cement companies has pledged to reduce Scope 1 GHG emissions by 12.7% per ton of cementitious materials by 2030.

Key Takeaways

As per the Glasgow Climate Change Conference showcased in November 2021, several nations took far-reaching decisions in their collective effort to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. Large enterprises are pivotal for powering this change. Initiative and reporting on BRSR will support us in reducing and tracking the impact of global emissions. BRSR can strengthen our efforts to craft a resilient movement to curb adverse climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.  Also, BRSR shares the essential steps to be taken by large corporates to enable us to live in a better world.

This revised reporting mechanism is created to spread awareness and encourage better investment decisions. It is expected to align with global reporting standards and contribute towards sustainable and inclusive development in the country. With SEBI enforcing ESG statements, the new reporting mechanism will enable more transparency and accountability.  Also, it can result in more transparency towards sustainability awareness and performance standards of companies.

Authored by:

Lokesh Bohra, Senior Vice President, Social and Impact Advisory

  • Ready to talk?

    I want to talk to your experts in:

    We work with ambitious leaders and transformative clients who are defining the future. Together, we achieve extraordinary outcomes.

    I have read the privacy policy and I agree to its terms.