Daphne Obbink

Daphne Obbink

Table of Contents

Navigating the New SME CSRD Standards 


In the dynamic world of corporate sustainability, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) often face unique challenges in navigating regulatory frameworks while striving to uphold their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) responsibilities. However, a recent development promises to simplify how SMEs approach sustainability reporting: introducing two new standards under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

Understanding the CSRD Standards

The updated CSRD standards encompass two crucial components tailored specifically for SMEs: LSME and VMSE.

Standard 1: for LSME (Listed SMEs)

    • This standard, set to be legally binding under CSRD starting from the financial year 2026, targets both EU and non-EU SMEs listed on the EU stock exchange or operating as banks.

    • It aims to streamline ESG information disclosure, ensuring that larger companies do not overwhelm SMEs with excessive data requests for their sustainability reports.

    • Establishing a value chain cap sets clear boundaries on the information larger companies can collect from SMEs, thus alleviating the reporting burden while promoting transparency.

Standard 2: for VSME (Non-listed SMEs)

    • The standard recognizes the fundamental market need for simplified reporting tools, especially for non-listed SMEs.

    • While not legally binding, it offers a standardized reporting framework, facilitating SMEs’ entry into the realm of ESG reporting.

    • The modular approach of standard for VMSE provides flexibility, allowing SMEs to choose reporting elements based on their capacity and requirements.

Key Benefits for SMEs

The introduction of these CSRD standards holds significant benefits for SMEs:

    • Simplified Reporting Processes: the standard for VMSEs has a modular structure and emphasizes simplicity so SMEs can navigate sustainability reporting with ease, regardless of their size or resources.

    • Enhanced Access to Sustainable Finance: the voluntary standardization facilitates SMEs’ access to sustainable finance, providing opportunity to attract investment and foster long-term growth.

    • Reduced Reporting Burden: the emphasis on limiting data collection by larger companies ensures that SMEs can focus on core business operations withoutthe burden of excessive reporting requests.

Embracing Sustainability Reporting

In a rapidly evolving business landscape, sustainability reporting is no longer an option but a necessity. The new CSRD standards represent a  step forward in generalizing sustainability reporting, ensuring that SMEs play a role in fostering transparency and accountability across industries. As SMEs embrace these standards, they position themselves as key contributors to the global sustainability agenda, driving positive change while simultaneously unlocking new opportunities for growth and innovation.

The journey towards sustainability begins with a commitment to transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement. With the new CSRD standards adapted for SMEs, businesses of all sizes now have the tools and frameworks needed to start on their sustainability journey with confidence. By embracing these standards, SMEs meet regulatory requirements and show their dedication to creating a more sustainable future.


Share this blog with your network! Click on the buttons below:


More to explore