India’s New ESG Reporting Standards and Rules in 2024

Unlocking the ESG Reporting Disclosure in India. Today, sustainability is not only a choice; it is a necessity that drives various company decisions. In India, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) regulations have been gaining traction to promote sustainable and responsible business practices. Understanding this landscape is important for stakeholders throughout the business data ecosystem.

The Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) regulation by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) mandates ESG disclosure in PDF and XBRL format by the top 1,000 listed companies in India. The following blog uncovers the key insights into ESG disclosures from these 1,000 reports for the financial year 2022-23. Read on to find out. 

An Overview of the ESG Reporting in India – Insights

The report delves into various insightful areas that may interest various stakeholder groups. These are as follows: 

ESG Reporting India

1. Material Risks and Opportunities

Various aspects are covered under material risks and opportunities identified by Indian companies. These may include climate change, health and safety, energy management, data privacy and security, etc. 

The analysis identifies major focus areas for risk management and sustainability activities, as well as insights suited to specific sectors. These findings benefit corporations, investors, and rating agencies by providing an industry-wide perspective for benchmarking and enabling peer alignment. 

2. Environmental Intensity Measures

It is focused on tracking and disclosing emissions, energy, water, biodiversity, and waste parameters. 

The analysis shows that sectors like financials, services, technology, and communications have lower emissions intensity due to their operational characteristics. Further exploration reveals that the services, extractives, and food and beverage sectors have lower energy intensity. This suggests either reduced energy use or higher earnings relative to energy consumption. Interestingly, the healthcare sector has the highest water intensity. 

3. Workplace and Diversity

The woman participation in the workplace is 18%, but this percentage can differ among various industries and roles. Industries that rely on manual labour, such as infrastructure, have lower female representation. On the other hand, service-oriented sectors, such as technology and communications, have higher gender diversity.

4. BRSR Assurance

It includes a set of metrics indicating Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the emerging market. It identifies areas like job creation in small towns, gross wages for women, and business openness. 

These were mandated starting from the financial year 2023-24. As a result, little voluntary information is available for the year 2022-23. This insight can be particularly beneficial to investors, rating agencies, regulators, and policymakers. 

5. CapEx and R&D

The BRSR asks for data on the portion of Capital Expenditures (CapEx) and R&D investments in technologies that enhance the environmental and social impacts of processes and products. 

The analysis shows that big companies are beginning to spend on environmental and social impacts, but this decreases with mid-sized and small firms. Additionally, service industries like finance, healthcare, and tech have shown no spending in these areas, unlike their manufacturing counterparts, who appear more committed.

ESG Reporting India: New Requirements and Compliance

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has introduced a new reporting framework, emphasizing transparency in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies. The Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) will replace the previous Business Responsibility Reporting (BRR) system, aiming to bring greater clarity and standardization to ESG disclosures from India’s top 1000 listed companies by market capitalization. This shift is a significant step forward for sustainable reporting in India, emphasizing responsible business conduct.

Background – BRSR 

The BRSR is grounded in the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC Guidelines), which align with leading international standards, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Core Conventions. The guidelines provide a framework that addresses key sustainability issues such as business ethics, transparency, human rights, environmental safety, and fair labor practices. The BRSR format builds on these guidelines to provide a comprehensive and standardized approach to ESG reporting.

ESG Compliance India: Mandatory Compliance and Timeline

The BRSR will become mandatory from FY 2022-23, allowing companies a transition period to adapt to the new compliance framework. For FY 2021-22, the report is voluntary, encouraging companies to adopt it early and prepare for mandatory compliance.

Content of the BRSR

The BRSR outlines nine principles based on the RBC Guidelines, including:

  • Business Ethics and Transparency: Ensuring fair business practices, anti-corruption measures, and ethical conduct.
  • Human Rights: Respecting and upholding human rights across company operations, supply chains, and communities.
  • Environmental Safety: Implementing measures to mitigate environmental impact, including responsible resource management and reducing emissions.
  • Fair Labor Practices: Ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect for workers’ rights.

The BRSR’s comprehensive approach aims to ensure these key principles align with India’s broader sustainable development goals and international standards.

Sustainable Reporting India: ESG Compliance and Transparency

The BRSR promotes standardized and transparent ESG reporting, enhancing India’s corporate sustainability framework. By providing a clear and comprehensive structure for companies to report on their sustainability initiatives, the BRSR enables companies to better demonstrate their ESG position and performance, facilitating informed decision-making for investors and stakeholders.

Impacts and Benefits

The introduction of the BRSR brings numerous benefits:

  • Value Creation: The BRSR helps companies position themselves as responsible businesses, which can lead to long-term value creation and improved market perception.
  • Informed Investors: Transparent ESG reporting allows investors to make more informed decisions, promoting responsible investment practices.
  • Corporate Sector Growth: The BRSR’s focus on sustainability and transparency can lead to overall growth for India’s corporate sector, aligning it with sustainable development goals.

Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting in India

ESG Reporting Requirements in India

Disclosure Requirements

  • ESG Risks and Opportunities: Companies must provide an overview of their material environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) risks and opportunities, along with their approach to mitigate or adapt to these risks, including the financial implications.
  • Goals and Performance: Companies should disclose their sustainability-related goals, targets, and performance.
  • Management Structures and Policies: Companies must describe their management structures, policies, and processes related to sustainability.

ESG Disclosures - Stats

Environmental Disclosures

  • Resource Usage and Metrics: Companies should report on their resource usage, including energy and water, with intensity metrics.
  • Emissions and Waste Management:
  • Biodiversity Impact: Companies must disclose their impact on biodiversity.
  • Environmental Principle: Principle 6 states businesses should respect and make efforts to protect and restore the environment.

Social Disclosures

  • Employee-Related Disclosures:
    • Diversity: Gender and social diversity, including measures for differently abled employees.
    • Turnover Rates: Insight into employee retention.
    • Wages and Benefits: Median wages and welfare benefits for both permanent and contractual employees.
    • Health and Safety: Occupational health and safety measures.
    • Training Opportunities: Training programs for employees.
  • Social Principles:
    • Principle 3: Businesses should respect and promote the well-being of all employees, including those in their value chains.
    • Principle 5: Businesses should respect and promote human rights.
  • Community-Related Disclosures:
    • Social impact assessments.
    • Rehabilitation and resettlement efforts.
    • Corporate social responsibility initiatives.
  • Community Principle: Principle 8: Businesses should promote inclusive growth and equitable development.
  • Consumer-Related Disclosures:
    • Product labeling.
    • Product recall information, including reasons and actions taken.
    • Consumer complaints related to data privacy, cybersecurity, and other relevant issues.
  • Consumer Principle: Principle 9: Businesses should engage with and provide value to their consumers in a responsible manner.

Governance Disclosures

  • Training: Companies must conduct training on the RBC Guidelines for board members, senior managers, and employees.
  • Anti-Corruption Policies: Anti-corruption and anti-bribery policies.
  • Awareness Programs: Awareness programs for value chain partners on the principles in the RBC Guidelines.
  • Governance Principle: Principle 1: Businesses should conduct and govern themselves with integrity, and in a manner that is ethical, transparent, and accountable


XBRL, a machine-readable format, can streamline ESG reporting for Indian companies. As opposed to error-prone PDF reports, XBRL allows stakeholders to uncover meaningful insights from business reports. It helps them identify trends and patterns within the data. The ESG disclosures can help comply with the stakeholder’s demand for more transparency and accountability. 

If you are new to ESG reporting and need a reliable partner, DataTracks can be your best bet. Our experts are experienced in BRSR reporting (ESG reporting for NSE-listed companies) in India. We can help prepare timely reports that are free from errors and comply with SEBI regulations. To learn more about the services we offer, you can contact our team at or call +91 7305074307.

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