Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) has published a response to the public consultation of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on ESG disclosures, ratings and investing, in which it urges the board to strive for compatibility with international sustainability reporting standards.

In a letter to SEBI, the manager of Norway’s now NOK14trn (€1.26trn) Government Pension Fund Global said it welcomed SEBI’s consultation on ESG disclosures, which were aimed at improving existing requirements under the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) regime introduced in 2021.

Focusing its response solely on the ESG disclosures part of the consultation, NBIM praised the board for enhancing ESG disclosure requirements for entities’ supply chains, saying this was often where material sustainability risks and opportunities lay.

“As a global investor, with holdings in companies in 70 different countries, we have a clear interest in this information being reported in a consistent and comparable manner across markets,” NBIM wrote in the letter, signed by Carine Smith Ihenacho, NBIM’s chief governance and compliance officer, and Elisa Cencig, senior ESG policy adviser.

The Norwegian central bank subsidiary said it had around INR1.5trn (€17bn) invested in the shares of 416 Indian companies at the end of 2022, adding that as a long-term, global investor, its returns relied on sustainable development in economic, environmental and social terms.

Smith Ihenacho and Cencig backed SEBI’s aim of introducing assurance requirements for information reported, and to enhance supply-chain information, but added: ”However, we call on SEBI to facilitate interoperability with international standards for sustainability reporting.

”While we acknowledge that SEBI’s guidance on BRSR reporting allows entities to cross-reference the disclosures made under international reporting frameworks to the disclosures sought under the BRSR, we encourage SEBI to further consider how the KPIs suggested in the consultation framework for BRSR Core could be better aligned with international standards,” they said.

Regarding information related to supply chains, the Oslo-based sovereign wealth fund manager suggested SEBI directly expand the scope of the BRSR requirements, rather than mandating indirect disclosure through the biggest listed companies, to avoid duplicate disclosures for supply-chain firms linked to several reporting companies.

Earlier this week, NBIM responded to the Global Sustainability Standards Board’s (GSSB) public consultation on the exposure draft of the revised GRI Biodiversity Standard, in which it advised the board to take more account of positive impacts, rather than just the negative side of corporate behaviour it currently focused on.

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