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How to navigate sustainability frameworks and standards to report your ESG results

Person on computer, with floating graphics related to ESG reporting

Learn how SEC and CSRD requirements, ISSB, SASB, GRI and other standards play into your ESG reporting strategy

Whether your company is reporting on its environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts voluntarily, in accordance with (or anticipation of) specific regulations or just starting out on your journey, determining which standards to report against can be overwhelming.

While in some cases there may be requirements to guide you, in others you may need to determine what makes the most sense for your company and its stakeholders. 

To help, we’ve created an overview of some of the most common frameworks to guide your strategy and decisions as you move forward.

New and upcoming governmental regulations

Keep an eye out for these regulations that may affect your sustainability and ESG reporting in the coming months and years.


  • Utilizes double materiality
  • Reporting must cover:
    • Sustainability goals
    • Role of executive and supervisory boards
    • Company’s most significant adverse impacts
    • Intangible resources not yet accounted for
  • Sustainability information must be disclosed in the management report (not a separate non-financial report)
  • Companies will be required to prepare reports in XHTML format and tag sustainability information according to a digital categorization system

Impacted organizations:

  • All companies listed on an EU-regulated market (except micro-enterprises)
  • All non-capital, market-oriented companies meeting two of the following criteria:
    1.   Balance sheet total greater than 20 million euros
    2.   Net sales greater than 40 million euros net sales
    3.   250+ employees
  •  Non-EU companies with EU-based subsidiaries or with securities on EU-regulated markets must also report

Effective date: 

Fiscal year 2024 for the first companies (large, public entities already subject to NFRD), with reports published in 2025


  • Rule amendments would require registrants (foreign or domestic) to include certain climate-related information in registration statements and reports (e.g., Form 10-K), including:
    • Climate-related risks and their actual or likely material impacts on business, strategy and outlook
    • Governance of climate-related risks and risk management processes
    • GHG emissions, which may be subject to assurance
    • Certain climate-related financial statement metrics and related disclosures
    • Details about climate-related targets, goals and transition plan

Impacted organizations:

  • Large accelerated filers
  • Accelerated filers
  • Smaller reporting companies (SRC)

Effective date:

  • TBD pending final approval (potentially April 2023)
  • Large accelerated and accelerated filers will start with Scope 1 and 2, following with Scope 3 about a year later; SRCs are only subject to Scope 1 and 2 disclosures

Learn more about U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Climate-Related Disclosures

Common voluntary standards

These are the most common standards to date for sustainability and ESG reporting.  


Facilitates an annual reporting process to score respondents and measure progress on climate change, forests and/or water security for companies, cities, states and regions. The Climate Change Questionnaire aligns with the TCFD Framework

Effective date:

2023 questionnaires and guidance are now available and must be completed by July

Learn more about CDP


Modular set of standards (universal, sector and topic specific) that helps organizations understand and report their impacts to the economy, environment and people in a comparable and credible way

Effective date:

Currently in effect

Learn more about Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)


  • Global standards designed to help companies provide complete information that meets investor needs
  • Technical content of IFRS S1: General Sustainability-related Disclosures and IFRS S2: Climate-related disclosures was agreed upon in February 2023, with final versions expected to be issued in June

Effective date:

January 2024

Learn more about International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) Sustainability Disclosure Standards


  • Previously the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board’s SASB Standards
  • Industry-based standards that help companies disclose risks sustainability-related risks and opportunities that affect enterprise value

Effective date:

Currently in effect; will be replaced by ISSB’s new Sustainability Disclosure standards

Learn more about International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) SASB Standards


  • Recommendations for climate-related financial filings structured around four areas: governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets.
  • Adoptable across sectors

Effective date:

Currently in effect

Learn more about Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

Trees from the ground perspective

Review your ESG strategy and plan your future reporting journey

Whether you will be required to report against specific frameworks or are choosing the standards that make the most sense for your organization, now is the time to review your strategy and determine how you will move forward on your reporting journey.

If you are new to ESG reporting, check out our blog “What is ESG – and why is it important?”

Gain expert support, compelling sustainability communications and ESG reporting with Pivot Strategies. Contact us Learn more about our sustainability offering in these case studies.

About the Authors

Cathy McCarronSenior Client Director, ESG Reporting & Sustainability Communications

Cathy brings more than 30 years of experience to the Pivot team, including running her own communications consulting business for 18 years after working in corporate and agency roles. Cathy’s broad expertise includes over a decade leading CSR and ESG reporting projects — ideal background for her role as Pivot’s ESG Reporting and Sustainability Communications Practice Leader. She is a strategic, versatile communicator adept at delivering targeted communications and reporting solutions for clients across a variety of industries.

Connect with Cathy McCarron on LinkedIn →

Sara KeisCommunications Consultant

For more than 15 years, Sara has been helping organizations effectively connect and engage with audiences and stakeholders. With experience across a variety of industries, she knows how to distill complex topics into easy-to-understand messages that will inform and resonate.

Connect with Sara Keis on LinkedIn →

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