New challenges related to ESG factors
According to the report “Sustainable Actions Index: Consumers, Employees, Citizens - CE perspective. Growing concerns about Global Warming ”describing the results of the survey of attitudes, behaviors and anxieties related to climate change, only 7 percent of Central European respondents do not believe that human activities are contributing to the undesirable climate change. This gives hope to support measures to protect the climate, such as changing consumer habits and a wider choice of sustainable products and services.
The feeling that we live in the face of the threat of the consequences of climate change tends to shape sustainable behavior in many areas of our lives - personal choices, active citizenship and in the workplace. Those of us who firmly believe that climate change is a crisis are also those who are most actively working to solve it in all aspects of our lives. Additionally, our research confirms that those of us who believe that the world will take sufficient steps to combat climate change are more likely to act sustainably. This means that optimism - and not just avoiding climate fatalism - is often a key driver to take concrete action in many areas. It also suggests that people can be encouraged to be active if they believe that their participation in addressing climate challenges matters. For business leaders and decision makers, this is an opportunity to catalyze wide-ranging change by building an appropriate narrative underlining that dealing with climate change is within our reach, that we know what needs to be done, and have the tools to do so. And also - act, because people expect specific actions from business.
The outbreak of the pandemic has already increased global awareness of environmental problems and has resulted in an increased commitment to finding solutions. Consumers increasingly include sustainability in their online and offline purchasing decisions. They pay attention to the ethical practices of sellers: whether the products or their components are sourced in a sustainable way, and whether they have environmentally friendly packaging. And also what business decisions they make in the face of major social challenges. Brands that do not meet the increased expectations of consumers will quickly lose their importance.
Among many sectors, the consumer industry is especially under scrutiny of the increasingly insightful public opinion focused on responsible business activities. This was particularly evident in the reaction to brands' actions in connection with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. From the beginning of the conflict, for example, the luxury goods industry was heavily criticized. Despite the symbolic gestures of solidarity, we had to wait long for the strong response of luxury brands and withdrawal from operations in Russia. And it cannot be ruled out that some customers from other European countries will boycott the sellers of these goods due to this delayed reaction. The war in Ukraine clearly shows that brand activism is gaining in importance and that consumers expect concrete, swift and active action. It also means that companies' obligations in terms of environmental, social and corporate governance are put to the test and that companies cannot stop at declarations in this regard but must translate them into measurable actions.
In this newsletter issue:
Report "Sustainable Actions Index: Consumers, Employees, Citizens - CE perspective. Growing concerns about Global Warming” presents 4,000 responses of respondents from Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary, which complement the global survey conducted as part of the Global State of Consumer Tracker among 23 thousand respondents from 23 countries. In the study, we asked how attitudes, behaviors and concerns about the environment and climate change shape their actions in three areas: personal choices, active citizenship and in the workplace.
Global Powers of Luxury Goods
The report "Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2021” examines the main trends and factors shaping the landscape of the fashion and luxury goods sector. The latest edition also includes financial information and a ranking of the 100 leading companies in the industry based on consolidated sales in 2019, a geographic analysis of the performance of the countries that are headquarters of the companies included in the ranking, an analysis of the impact of the pandemic on sales, and an overview of individual business models, key players, partnerships and significant changes in the e-commerce market of luxury goods, analysis of the performance of product segments, as well as a description of companies belonging to the TOP 100 companies included in the report.
What is and will be happening in the area of sustainable finance? We present the second issue of our quarterly Sustainable Finance Magazine, hoping it will will serve as an inspiring guide to your activities in the coming weeks.
In this issue:
- Detailed schedule and descriptions of regulations and priorities for companies for the coming weeks, including article on disclosure of Pillar 3 climate risks
- The most important conferences and publications related to the topic of climate and sustainable finance
- Sustainable finance from the perspective of the insurance and banking industry leaders – case studies, thought leadership, best practices, incl. Bank Pekao SA and our joint emissions calculation project
Regulatory agenda update
On February 28, 2022 the European Commission’s Platform on Sustainable Finance (PSF) Subgroup 4 has released the final Report on Social Taxonomy, proposing a structure for an EU social taxonomy in line with the current legislative environment on sustainable finance and governance.
The intention is to create a system of classification of economic activities contributing significantly to the achievement of social goals, following the example of the existing EU taxonomy on climate and environmental goals. The proposed goals of the Social Taxonomy relate to three selected groups of stakeholders and include:
- decent work (employees)
- adequate standard of living and welfare (consumers)
- inclusive and sustainable communities (society)
In practice, the Social Taxonomy is to be a tool helping investors to identify opportunities that contribute to the achievement of social goals, in particular to support a fair transformation of the economy in response to climate change, through the appropriate redirection of capital. Especially after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in demand for social bonds, which allow for obtaining financing, e.g. for purposes related to education, health or affordable housing.
Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive
The European Commission’s proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) envisages the adoption of EU sustainability reporting standards. The draft standards are being developed by PTF-ESRS (Project Task Force – European Sustainability Reporting Standard) at the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) and have been gradually released over the last weeks in the form of working papers. Six batches of working papers have already been released. After the publication of six working papers in Batch 1, three working papers in Batch 2, one working paper in Batch 3, seven working papers in Batch 4, and two working papers in Batch 5, Batch 6 published on March 16, 2022 consists of two additional papers: ESRS 1 General Provisions and Cover Note. The Cover Note explains that concepts, principles and some disclosure requirements that were initially included in other ESRS and also fundamental principles that were so far only addressed in ESRG were incorporated into ESRS 1. More on EFRAG website. The PTF-ESRS emphasizes that the publication of these working papers is to ensure a transparent process, there is, however, no public consultation at this point; this is planned for a later date, probably mid 2022. However, an early analysis of the working papers might be helpful in order to understand the proposed sustainability reporting architecture and the direction of disclosure requirements.
On February 24th, the European Council agreed its position on the European Commission proposal for a corporate sustainability reporting directive (CSRD). It provides the Council presidency with a mandate for further discussions with the European Parliament. The Council amended the scope proposed by the European Commission in order to ensure that reporting requirements are not too burdensome for listed SMEs (since the obligations do not apply to other SMEs) and that they have sufficient time to adapt to the new rules. It also includes the later entry into force of CSRD reporting obligations:
- January 1, 2024 - companies already subject to the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) - reporting in 2025 on data for 2024;
- January 1, 2025 - large enterprises currently not subject to the NFRD Directive - reporting in 2026 on data for 2025;
- January 1, 2026 - Listed SMEs and small, non-complex credit institutions and captive insurance companies - reporting in 2027 on data for 2026
Report on CE perspective
Important regulations, events and publications in the area of sustainable finance and ESG