15 December 2023

How to make
a sustainability
report XBRL-
compliant

In summary...

The European Union will adopt XBRL under its CSRD in 2024. To ensure conformity and guarantee uniformity across reports, qualifying companies will need to implement this standard into their sustainability reports from the 2024 reporting period.

As governing organisations look to improve the consistency and comparability of sustainability information disclosed by companies, having uniformity in taxonomies becomes essential. To achieve this, XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) will be adopted under the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) in 2024.

So, what is XBRL?

XBRL is a global standard for exchanging business information. It’s an open, XML-based standard that provides a common framework for expressing financial reporting and other business information in a machine-readable format.

Common document types, including Word Docs, Excel Spreadsheets and Adobe PDFs can be marked up with XBRL tags that identify common items such as Scope 1 emissions, making them consistent across all reports and compliant with European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) regulation.

The benefits of this tagging are multiple.

  • XBRL is machine-readable, which means that computers can process XBRL data automatically, making data exchange quicker and more efficient compared to traditional reporting formats like PDF or Word.
  • Using a defined taxonomy means reporting terms are standardised across all reports, making them easier for different global stakeholders to understand and use the data
  • Due to its standardsised nature, XBRL makes interoperability across different systems a possibility, allowing more effective communication and data exchange
  • Because it can be validated automatically, reporting becomes more accurate and consistent

When will XBRL become a requirement for ESG reporting?

The requirement for XBRL in ESG reporting is being shaped under the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) plans to release the XBRL taxonomy of the ESRS for a 60-day consultation in the first quarter of 2024, with a technical recommendation on the taxonomy to be issued to the European Commission in the second half of 2024.

As sustainability reporting increasingly becomes a standard practice globally, XBRL offers a standardized framework for presenting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data in a machine-readable format. By enabling automated data processing and validation, XBRL reduces the potential for errors and inconsistencies, thereby improving the overall quality and reliability of sustainability reports.

How to make your report XBRL compliant?

Creating an XBRL-compliant sustainability report requires adhering to the standards and taxonomy provided by relevant authorities. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can make a sustainability report XBRL-compliant:

    1. Identify Relevant Taxonomies
      Taxonomies are dictionaries that define the specific tags for individual items of data. For sustainability reporting, you would need to identify and utilize the appropriate taxonomies that correspond to sustainability metrics and disclosures.
    2. Get Access to XBRL Tools
      Use XBRL software tools for tagging and creating your report. These tools will help you apply the correct tags from the relevant taxonomy to the data in your report.
    3. Tag the Data
      Tag each data element in the sustainability report with the appropriate XBRL tag from the selected taxonomy. This step is crucial for ensuring that the data can be accurately interpreted and compared.
    4. Validate the Report
      Use XBRL validation tools to check the accuracy and completeness of the tagging. Validation will help identify any errors or inconsistencies that need to be corrected before the report is finalized.
  1. Generate XBRL Instance Document
    Once the data is tagged and validated, generate an XBRL instance document. This document is a standardized file that contains the tagged data from your report.
  2. Review and Test
    Review the XBRL instance document to ensure it meets all required standards and compliances. It might also be beneficial to test the document with stakeholders or third-party validators to ensure it meets all necessary requirements.
  3. Submit the Report
    Submit the XBRL-compliant sustainability report to the relevant authorities as per the reporting requirements and deadlines.
  4. Stay Updated
    Keep yourself updated with any changes in XBRL standards or taxonomies, and be prepared to adapt your reporting process accordingly.
  5. Seek Expertise
    If needed, consult with XBRL experts or join industry groups to stay informed and receive guidance on XBRL reporting for sustainability.

By following these steps and ensuring adherence to the relevant XBRL standards and taxonomies, you’ll be on your way to creating a sustainability report that is XBRL compliant.

How JDJ Creative can help

As report design specialists, we know how to make a report look good. And we know that well-designed means aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. But on top of making reports clear and readable for a human audience, we understand the benefits of a machine-readable format. This is why we offer iXBRL tagging on our reports. These markups are made directly to your final pdf report, making them XBRL compliant and great looking.

To find out more about XBRL tagging, or for an informal chat about your next report, please get in touch with our design team today at hello@jdjcreative.co.uk or fill in our contact form.

Related Posts

Design

How to make
a sustainability
report XBRL-
compliant

Read article

Data

The Impact
of Visual
Storytelling in
Financial
Marketing

Read article

Design

The Role of
design in
investor
presentations
and pitch
decks

Read article

Design

Why choose
JDJ Creative to
design your
Sustainability
Report?

Read article

Design

What are
brand
guidelines?

Read article

Design

On the rise of
Sustainability
Reporting

Read article

Design

A quick guide
to Exhibition
Stands

Read article

Company News

Reflecting on
a wonderful
relationship

Read article

Design

How to choose
the right
annual report
design agency

Read article

Design

A guide to:
annual report
design

Read article

Design

Will AI replace
graphic
designers?

Read article

Company News

2022:
A Roundup

Read article

Design

Report design
for the future

Read article

Data

Using design
to better
understand data

Read article

Design

How to design
a sustainability
report

Read article

Design

How to present
a sustainability
report

Read article

Design

Five key steps
to sustainability
reporting

Read article

Design

What makes up
a sustainability
report?

Read article

Design

How to measure
sustainability

Read article

Design

Is print
still
relevant?

Read article

Design

Are brochures
still effective?

Read article

Design

What is
sustainability
reporting and
why is it
important?

Read article

Design

What to look for
when proofreading
an annual report
(or other business
document)

Read article

Company News

2021: A year
in design

Read article

Design

How to measure
the impact of
thought
leadership

Read article

Company News

Brands we’ve
worked with who
are changing
the world

Read article

Design

The psychology
of colour in
branding

Read article

Design

Can graphic
designers
do web design?

Read article

Design

Why are brands
going retro with
their logos?

Read article

Design

How to
choose a
brand typeface

Read article

Design

Women in
art &
design

Read article

Design

Promoting
your annual
report for
maximum
engagement

Read article

Design

Annual report
design tips

Read article

Design

The JDJ Creative
annual report
design process

Read article

Design

Should you
publish a digital
or printed
annual report?

Read article

Design

Planning your
annual report

Read article

Design

The ultimate
guide to annual
report design

Read article

Design

Creativity Vs
Automation

Read article

Design

Corporate review
design: Reimagined

Read article

Company News

Radiance
colour book

Read article

Design

Pollen: Preparation,
Collaboration,
Execution

Read article

Design

Making sense:
Touch

Read article

Get in touch

We’re always keen to hear from like-minded people with passion and purpose,
so let’s see if together we can bring your vision to life.