How will ESRS Standards change the game for event organisers?

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The date marked a new era for corporate reporting, which will gradually encompass most EU companies and oblige them to write sustainable reports. As the Slovenian expert in the field of sustainability, Simona Roškar, brilliantly commented: “The period of sustainable fairytales is ending and giving birth to an era of comprehensive and accurate data collection.” Event organisers will have to start garnering concrete data, too. Current reports and guidelines akin to the one published by Net Zero Carbon Events in autumn will undoubtedly fall short of the expectations and needs of corporations. Future reports will need to include risks at events, identify value chains and integrate all acquired information.

ESG Reporting represents a quantum leap from the previous NFRD Directive (Non-Financial Reporting Directive). The CSRD Directive (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) has replaced the latter. The new directive will extend the number of those obliged to report on their sustainable initiatives. In contrast to the NFRD Directive, wherein 11,700 companies were obligated to report on their sustainability initiatives, the CSRD Directive will include over 50,000 companies across Europe. They include numerous companies considered leading event agencies and the following organisations that had to begin reporting on sustainability as early as 1 January 2024:

Large organisations with over 500 employees are obliged to report according to the NFRD Directive from 1 January 2024 onwards for reports in 2025.

Large EU companies that meet two of the following three criteria:

– More than 250 employees on average in a business year
– more than 40 million EUR of profit
– more than 20 million EUR in capital

From 1 January 2025, all EU companies investing in the stock market, including mid-sized and smaller companies, will be obliged to write sustainability reports.

A road going through green mountains


See which sustainable topics are included in ESRS standards:

E – Environmental standards

E1 – Climate change
Climate change adaptation / Climate change mitigation / Energy

E2 – Pollution
Pollution of air / Pollution of water / Pollution of soil / Pollution of living organisms and food resources / Substances of concern / Substances of very high concern

E3 – Water and Marine Resources
Water and marine resources

E4 – Biodiversity and ecosystems
Direct impact drivers of biodiversity loss / Impacts on the state of species / Impacts on the extent and condition of ecosystems / Impacts and dependencies on ecosystem services

E5 – Resource use and circular economy
Resources inflows, including resource use / Resource outflows related to products and services / Waste

S – Social standards

S1 – Own standards
Working conditions / Equal treatment and opportunities for all / Other work-related rights

S2- Workers in the value chain
Working conditions / Equal treatment and opportunities for all / Other work-related rights

S3 – Affected communities
Communities’ economic, social and cultural rights / Communities’ civil and political rights / Particular rights of indigenous communities

S4 – End users / Communities
Information-related impacts for consumers and/or end-users / Personal safety of consumers and/or end-users / Social inclusion of consumers and/or end-users

G – Governance standards

G1 – Governance, risk management, internal control
Corporate culture / Protection of whistle-blowers / Animal welfare / Political engagement and lobbying activities / Management of relationships with suppliers including payment practices / Corruption and bribery

Two hands holding dirt and grass



GOV-1 – The role of the administrative, management and supervisory bodies
GOV-2 – Information provided to and sustainability matters addressed by the undertaking’s administrative, management and supervisory bodies
GOV-3 – Integration of sustainability-related performance in incentive schemes
GOV–4 – Statement on due diligence
GOV–5 – Risk management and internal controls over sustainability reporting


SBM-1 – Strategy, business model and value chain
SBM-2 – Interests and views of stakeholders
SBM-3 – Material impacts, risks and opportunities and their interaction with strategy and business model


IRO-1 – Description of the processes to identify and assess material impacts, risks and opportunities
IRO-2 – Disclosure requirements in ESRS covered by the undertaking’s sustainability statement


Policies MDR-P – Policies adopted to manage material sustainability matters
Actions MDR-A – Actions and resources in relation to material sustainability matters
Metrics MDR-M – Metrics in relation to material sustainability matters
Targets MDR-T – Tracking effectiveness of policies and actions through targets

Key sources:

People walking inside of a venue with glass

It is plain to see that the ESRS Directive has already prompted confusion. In the meetings industry, that is evident in the value chain, which includes predominantly venues, hotels, catering companies and multimedia providers. Understanding the effects of the value chain is the primary step for companies that have to start writing sustainability reports this year. Suppliers will want information about energy and water use and waste management at events. Such demands will only grow. Event organisers can also expect questions about their decarbonisation plan and information about work conditions and employee relations. The standard also foresees that companies must share information about the number of employees and reveal their strategy for preventing discrimination, providing equal opportunities, and implementing measures for inclusivity.

We also expect that clients will soon want all meetings industry providers to integrate their strategies and findings digitally with the ESEF format based on the XBRL taxonomy (currently being developed).

We believe the time to consider sustainability reporting in the meetings industry is now. We must implement mechanisms that will make sustainability reporting easier. That will give us a competitive advantage and help us achieve better business results.


The data event organisers will have to collect in the future will have to meet miscellaneous qualitative criteria, including suitability, accuracy, comparability, transparency and understandability. That is why we concur with the statement that the period of sustainable fairytales is finally ending.

The ESRS Standards balances data about sustainable development with financial information. That has incited a need to revise data used for financial reports thus far. Event organisers should be aware that the standard foresees 86 findings and 1100 data segments. The dual nature of the ESRS Standards means companies will have to report for the entire spectre of environmental, societal and governance segments (ESG). In other words, organisations will have to report on their impact on society and the environment and how various sustainable pledges have changed their work. Although the first draft of the ESRS Standards includes all information that will undoubtedly be relevant to all sectors, they will be amended with designated standards for individual industries later. We assume there will be a standard for the meetings industry, too.

As we most often discuss sustainable transformation through UN sustainability goals, here are the connections between the UN’s sustainable goals and ESG goals.

E- Environment S – Social  G – Governance 
SDG12 – Responsible consumption and production SDG1 – No poverty SDG8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG13 – Climate action SDG2 – Zero hunger SDG9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG14 – Life below water SDG3 – Good health and well-being SDG10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG15 – Life on land SDG4 – Quality education SDG17 – Partnerships for the goals
  SDG5 – Gender equality  
  SDG6 – Clean water and sanitation  
  SDG7 – Affordable and clean energy  
  SDG16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions  
  SDG17 – Partnerships for the goals  
A plane flying over trees

First, you should consider how you plan to meet SDG (ESG) goals. That is an excellent basis for learning about what the new European legislation has in store for the industry. Sooner than event organisers think, they will be overwhelmed by a sea of questions from clients, such as:

  • What is your sustainable pledge?
  • What is your carbon footprint?
  • What is the most problematic part of your carbon footprint?
  • How ambitious are your sustainable goals?
  • Can you ensure you measure your carbon footprint precisely?
  • What are the sustainability risks?

By posing these questions, clients will aim to discern whether your company is trustworthy. Not one company within the industry will bypass this new regulation as sustainability, in essence, is overcoming one’s own selfishness.

Some of the most used acronyms you should be familiar with:

ESG – E – environment, S – social, G – governance
ESRS – European Sustainability Reporting Standards
CSRD – Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive
NFRD – Non-Financial Reporting Directive
CSSD – Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive
CSO – Chief sustainability officer
ESAP – European Single Access Point



Written by: 

Gorazd Čad