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Corporate Sustainability Reporting: Freshfields supports UN GCG on survey and mapping tool

Global law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (‘Freshfields’) has supported a survey on CSRD-readiness, conducted by the UN Global Compact Network Germany (UN GCG), which has been published here (in German). The survey shows that more than two thirds of the surveyed companies (i.e. German UNGC members) have started their CSRD-implementation process which relates to an average of about 1.5 years of preparation time prior to the first reporting dates.

Amongst the biggest challenges mentioned are: Complexity and related shortage of personnel, availability and quality of data as well as lack of clarity regarding the reporting requirements. The survey also provides insights into the corporate processes, detailing, for example, approaches taken to the double materiality assessment.

Freshfields has furthermore finalized a mapping tool comparing global sustainability reporting standards for the UN Global Compact Networks in Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland & Liechtenstein, UK, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Poland, The Netherlands, Austria and Georgia. The tool is now accessible on the UN Global Compact Network Germany’s website (here).

The mapping tool is particularly valuable to global companies with reporting obligations under the CSRD who at the same time want to continue reporting under voluntary sustainability standards. The new tool provides support by mapping each ESRS Data Point against corresponding data points in other reporting standards and frameworks.

Designing the mapping tool involved an in-depth examination and comparison of the most relevant reporting standards to date, including the Communication on Progress (CoP) under the UN Global Compact, the German Supply Chain Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz, LkSG), the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) under the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

Together with the UN Global Compact, Freshfields is planning to continue to expand the mapping tool to include further sustainability reporting standards relevant for companies globally.

The legal tech experts of the Freshfields Lab, our global platform for digital solutions, integrated the legal work into an intuitive, ready-to-use digital tool for companies. The tool now serves as a guidance platform for UN Global Compact members, including clients of Freshfields worldwide.

Sophie Bense, who led the project for the UN Global Compact Network Germany, commented: “With the aim of creating more transparency within the complex field of sustainability reporting, we are delighted to launch this comprehensive mapping. The fact that we can offer the tool as a digital product will increase its value and usability for our members.”

The UN Global Compact Network Germany currently comprises more than 1,250 participants - around 1,200 of which are companies ranging from DAX to SMEs, as well as 60+ representatives of civil society, science and politics.

Freshfields’ legal team included Partners Juliane Hilf and Christoph H. Seibt, Principal Associate Marlen Vesper-Gräske, Associates Felicitas Weber, Lena Hanke, Vinzent Will, and Alice Bertram, Senior Transaction Lawyer Juan Sebastián Villacis Montalvo and Transaction Lawyer Luis Rojas Jiménez.

The Freshfields Lab team included Partner Gerrit Beckhaus, Senior Legal Solutions Engineer Philipp Thumfart, and Senior Transaction Lawyers Marcus Breuing and Kerim Siai.