Combatting Greenwashing: The EU’s Regulatory Drive

Posted on April 15, 2024 by Editor

In today’s landscape of ubiquitous sustainability claims, the ability to differentiate between genuine efforts and deceptive practices is hard. Diving into the realm of EU regulations, Chartered Accountant Dee Moran explores the ongoing and upcoming initiatives aimed at tackling greenwashing head-on.

The escalating concern over environmental issues and their associated risks has fuelled a growing demand for sustainability information. However, amidst the proliferation of claims, skepticism abounds regarding the veracity of sustainability reporting. A recent PwC Investor Survey starkly illustrates this skepticism, with a staggering 97% of respondents expressing doubt about the credibility of sustainability claims, highlighting an urgent need for more reliable data.

Greenwashing takes on various guises, ranging from vague labelling to deliberate misrepresentation, eroding consumer trust and distorting market dynamics. Acknowledging the gravity of this issue, the EU has embarked on a series of regulatory measures aimed at fostering transparency and accountability.

The Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) mandates comprehensive sustainability disclosures by financial market participants, categorising funds based on their environmental impact. Importantly, it looks like SFDR regulation will require machine readability – namely, markup in Inline XBRL – for disclosures. This will make the data more useful, especially for quick analysis and consistency with data reported under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

The CSRD represents another cornerstone in the EU’s regulatory arsenal. Published in December 2022, this directive sets forth sustainability reporting standards and mandates the assurance of ESG information.The forthcoming adoption of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) by the European Commission in July 2023 will further amplify the directive’s impact, ensuring that sustainability reporting is not only comprehensive but also digitalised.

Central to the CSRD’s effectiveness is the mandatory electronic XBRL tagging, which facilitates comparability in ESG reporting. This tagging empowers investors to scrutinise company-provided data with precision, enabling informed investment decisions based on detailed, comprehensive information.

Complementing these regulatory initiatives are the EU Taxonomy Regulation and the Green Claims Directive. While the former establishes a classification system for environmentally sustainable economic activities, aligning understanding of sustainability in business, the latter focuses on substantiating and communicating explicit environmental claims.

The EU’s regulatory drive signifies a concerted effort to combat greenwashing, foster transparency, and uphold integrity in sustainability reporting. By embracing digitalisation and standardisation, these regulations aim to provide stakeholders with reliable, actionable information, driving positive change toward a more sustainable future.

For detailed insights, delve into the full article here.

Other Posts


Would you like
to learn more?

Join our Newsletter mailing list to
stay plugged in to the latest
information about XBRL around the world.

By clicking submit you agree to the XBRL International privacy policy which can be found at xbrl.org/privacy