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ESG Policies and Regulations Update March 2024

Published on 03/04/2024 by Acclaro Advisory

The following details framework updates, and their implications, that occurred in March, as well as highlighting some key updates and releases to be aware of in the coming few years. Frameworks such as those explored in this report can help stakeholders understand how an organisation manages risks and opportunities around such sustainability issues. Often used as a communication tool, it can play an important role in demonstrating the sincerity of a company’s actions as well as ensuring good governance.  

Monthly update

After the CSDDD’s multiple delays to EU member state voting in February, progress has been announced for the framework. Additionally, March also saw some long-awaited updates from SEC, after its own delays to the release of its climate disclosure rule.

climate rule
Climate disclosure rules agreed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission6 March 2024
CSDDDEU member states have reached an agreement to progress the CSDDD.15 March 2024
SBTiNet Zero Standard for businesses has been updated19 March 2024


SEC’s Climate Disclosure Rule

The US Securities and Exchange commission approved the final climate disclosure rule on 6 March. It will initially apply to only large, listed entities that already post filings through the SEC, which is estimated to be around 10,000 organisations.

The rule mandates public companies to annually report their greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related risks that are likely to have material impact on their business by financial year 2025. Organisations in scope are also required to disclose how they are managing those risks and any related corporate targets.

Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD)

The CSDDD will impose mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence and transition plan requirements on firms in scope.

EU member states have finally reached an agreement to progress the CSDDD. The version approved was a stripped-back version of the Directive; it is likely to be enshrined in law before the European elections later this year. Its scope has been narrowed to organisations with 1,000 or more employees and with an annual turnover of €450m or more.

Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)

The SBTi is a global body enabling businesses to set ambitious emissions reductions targets in line with the latest climate science.

SBTi have unveiled minor updates to its Corporate Net Zero Standard. This provides clarify on the scope of the Standards and how businesses can certify. This Standard requires businesses to commit to reducing absolute emissions across all scopes by at least 90% by 2050 or sooner. The revisions added updated information on the target validation process, as well as clarifying which businesses can use the Standard as usual and which can use a more lenient pathway for SMEs.

Another change has been the embedding of key points on how businesses can design and implement strategies to go beyond value chain mitigation, engaging in activities that accelerate systems change for the global net-zero transition even if they do not reduce a company’s own value chain emissions.

These updates will affect those organisations considering or about to embark on their net-zero target setting journey.

Horizon Scanning

Date expectedFrameworkDescription
April 2024ISSBDigital Taxonomy release expected
May 2024UK SDRAnti-greenwashing rule and guidance comes into force on 31 May
June 2024TCFDFCA ESG Rules: TCFD disclosures relating to Financial Year 2023 to be finalised
June 2024UK SDRFirst elements of the new rules (excluding anti-greenwashing rule) to come into force – at the earliest
July 2024ESRSAnticipated adoption of the second draft of ESRS 
July 2024UK SDSSecretary of State for Business and Trade will consider the endorsement of the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, to create the UK SDS
July 2024UK SDRFirms can begin to use labels, with accompanying disclosures from 31 July
July 2024TPTTPT’s mandate extended until at least 31 July, in order to support the Transition Finance Market Review
December 2024UK SDRNaming and marketing rules come into force, with accompanying disclosures, from 2 December
2024CSRDDue to supersede NFRD in 2024. Large companies already subject to NFRD must begin reporting on the fiscal year 2024. Drafting of sectoral-ESRS. 
2024CSDDDApplication of CSDDD to certain EU and non-EU companies expected to begin at some stage in 2024 
2024GHG ProtocolExpected to release drafts of revised text 
January 2025CSRDExpected application of CSRD to large EU reporting. Sustainability reporting in 2026 for Financial Year 2025
June 2025UK ETSThe window for operators of installations to apply for free allocation, or to be in the schemes for hospital or small emitters or for ultra-small emitters, in the 2026-2030 allocation period is 1 April – 30 June 2025
October 2025UK ETSHospitals or small emitters and ultra-small emitters for the 2026-2030 allocation period must be published by 17 October 2025
December 2025UK SDROngoing product-level and entity-level disclosures for firms with AUM>£50bn, from 2 December
2025GHG ProtocolFinal standards and guidance to be released 
2025UK SDSSuite of KPIs will need to responded on from 2025 onwards
January 2026CSRDExpected application of EU CSRD to listed SMEs (may affect a small number of portfolio companies)
February 2026UK ETSDate before which the allocation table for the 2026-2030 allocation period must be published is 28 February 2026
December 2026UK SDREntity-level disclosure rules extended to firms with AUM>£5bn, from 2 December
January 2028CSRDExpected application of EU CSRD to non-EU companies, reporting in 2029 for Financial Year 2028


In its Autumn Statement 2022, the UK Government announced a new, long-term commitment to enhance energy efficiency, aiming to drive down costs for households, businesses, and the public sector with the end goal being a 15% reduction in the UK’s final energy consumption from buildings and industry by 2030 compared to 2021 levels. 

This commitment took the form of new government funding worth £6 billion being made available from 2025 to 2028. These funds have recently been earmarked, in a government press statement on December 18, 2023, for various schemes aimed at delivering energy efficiency assistance to businesses and homes throughout the United Kingdom. Some of these schemes are new, while some are existing schemes that have been allocated more funding. 

SchemeAllocationDescriptionYears of funding in the next spending review period
Boiler Upgrade Scheme£1.545bn Replacing fossil fuel heating systems 2025/2026 – 2027/2028
Heat Pump Investment Accelerator £15m Bringing forward investment in the UK heat pump manufacturing supply chain 2025/2026 
New £400m energy efficiency grant £400m For households in England to make changes such as bigger radiators or better insulation 2025/2026 – 2027/2028
New local authority retrofit scheme £500m Supporting low-income and cold homes with measures such as insulation 2025/2026 – 2027/2028 
Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund £1.253bn Supporting social homes to be insulated or retrofitted2025/2026 – 2027/2028 
Green Heat Network Fund£485mHelping homes and buildings access low carbon, affordable heating 2025/2026 – 2027/2028 
Heat Network Efficiency Scheme£45m Improving around 100 existing heat networks2025/2026 – 2027/2028
Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme £1.17bn Providing grants for public sector bodies to fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures2025/2026 – 2027/2028
Industrial Energy Transformation Fund £225m Continuing to help businesses transition to a low-carbon future 2025/2026 – 2027/2028 
Industrial Energy Efficiency and decarbonisation support £410m Further details to be announced in due course 2025/2026 – 2027/2028 

Sustainability abbreviations

CSDDD – Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive 

CSRD – Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive 

ESRS – European Sustainability Reporting Standards 

GHG Protocol – Greenhouse Gas Protocol 

GRI – Global Reporting Initiative  

ISSB – International Sustainability Standards Board 

SBTi – Science-Based Targets Initiative

TCFD – Taskforce for Climate Related Disclosure 

UK ETS – UK Emissions Trading Scheme

UK SDR – Sustainability Disclosure Requirements  

UK SDS – Sustainability Disclosure Standards 

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