Govt-appointed panel proposes 2 formats for business responsibility reporting by companies : 13-08-2020

In efforts to have a single source for all non-financial disclosures by corporates, a government-appointed panel has made various proposals on business responsibility reporting, including putting in place two formats for disclosing information.

The committee, constituted by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in 2018, has proposed that the Business Responsibility Report should be called as the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR).

This would help better reflecting the “intent and scope of reporting requirement,” the report said.

As per the report, reporting may be done by top 1,000 listed companies in terms of their market capitalisation or as prescribed by markets regulator Sebi.

“The reporting requirement may be extended by MCA (Ministry of Corporate Affairs) to unlisted companies above specified thresholds of turnover and/ or paid-up capital,” it noted.

The panel has suggested two formats for disclosures — a comprehensive format and a “lite version” — and also called for implementation of the reporting requirements in a gradual and phased manner.

Smaller unlisted companies may adopt a lite version of the format, on a voluntary basis, it added.

The committee on Business Responsibility was constituted for finalising business responsibility reporting formats for listed and unlisted companies under the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC).

Among others, the panel has recommended that the BRSR could be integrated with MCA 21 portal as that would ensure that all information already filed on the portal by companies would be automatically filled while filing the BRSR.

MCA 21 is used for submitting requisite filings to the ministry under the companies law.

One of the proposals is for having a guidance note on BRSR to enable companies to disclose their actions on the principles in a more meaningful manner.

“As a long-term measure, the Committee envisions that the information captured through BRSR filings be used to develop a Business Responsibility-Sustainability Index for companies.

“The endeavour of the committee has been to ensure that the BRSR reporting format would serve as a single source for all non-financial disclosures,” the report, released on Tuesday, said.

The ministry released the National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business (NVGs), in 2011. The process of revising the NVGs began in 2018 in order to align them with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights (UNGPs).

After stakeholder consultations, the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC) was issued in 2019.

The NGBRC has been designed to assist businesses to embrace the principle of responsible conduct going beyond the requirements of regulatory compliance. The disclosure mechanism emanating from the NVGs, namely, the business responsibility report needed to be modified to reflect the NGRBC.

Source : PTI

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