Throughout the lifecycle of your industrial site, proper soil management is a recurring concern. Whether implementing preventive measures through Best Available Techniques, investigating soil in line with Industrial Emission Directive (IED) obligations, or addressing product leakages and subsequent remediation, land stewardship holds a pivotal place in the (re)development of your sites.
As the implementation of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) approaches, you may be wondering how soil questions tie into the CSRD, if reporting is required, and how to prepare.
The CSRD is a new European directive that will require large companies operating in the EU, including many of our industrial, real estate, and contractor clients, to become more transparent on the topic of impacted soils in the coming years. This directive aims to promote transparency, standardization, and comparability and increased quality of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information for external stakeholders (investors, consumers, policy makers, NGOs, etc.). In short, it brings sustainability reporting to the same level as financial reporting.
CSRD blog series: With the implementation of the CSRD fast approaching, TAUW takes you through the ins and outs of this directive and takes a deeper dive into different environmental topics and how they link to the CSRD.
Recently the EU commission has approved a delegated act that sets out how companies will have to do this reporting in practice. This includes the approval of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). There are two cross-cutting standards and ten topical standards (covering 10 different ESG topics). Sector-specific standards will be published in the years to come. Each ESRS document defines a series of disclosure requirements, which are the qualitative and quantitative information that will have to be reported.
If you are subject to the CSRD, complying with this directive will begin with a double materiality assessment, which involves determining if a specific ESG topic is relevant in terms of its implications for the company's financial value and/or impact on the world at large. For soil and groundwater, this assessment will involve analyzing the impact of the company's activities on these important natural resources. Most elements linked to soil and groundwater contamination and remediation are covered by the ESRS E2 on pollution. When looking to the broader ecosystem services of soil, there are strong links as well to the ESRS's relative to climate change, biodiversity as well as circular economy.
Five key takeaways regarding information to be disclosed on soils in the CSRD when it is considered relevant for your company are the following:
As an environmental consultant covering matters such as soil management, TAUW is well-positioned to help you identify the relevant, valuable, and necessary information for reporting, drawing upon our deep understanding of your activities, sites, and specific soil contamination scenarios.
*Sustainable soil management including decontamination of soils can, in certain cases, be considered an EU taxonomy aligned activity - more on this in a later article.
At TAUW, we support our clients on the following aspects on their road to CSRD compliance:
As a business, if you identify soil impacts as a material topic, understanding the connections between the topic and upcoming CSRD reporting obligations is crucial. This understanding will help your organization to collect the necessary information and ensure it aligns coherently with CSRD requirements. The deadline for compliance with the CSRD is approaching. It is therefore paramount to be well-informed about the link between material environmental topics and reporting obligations. At TAUW, we are committed to helping you navigate this complex process and ensure that your organization is compliant with the upcoming CSRD reporting requirements.