India to Enhance ESG Disclosure, Assurance Requirements

New committee will work to address mis-selling and greenwashing risks and explore the introduction of prudential requirements for ESG funds.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has constituted a new committee to provide advice on ESG-related matters in the securities and funds markets.

The committee, chaired by HDFC Mutual Fund CEO Navneet Munot, includes the preparers and users of sustainability reports – including mutual funds, asset managers, and insurance companies. It also includes representation from ESG rating providers, proxy advisers, credit rating agencies, assurance providers and other technical experts.

SEBI said the committee will work on enhancements to BRSR (Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report) requirements – including by developing sector-specific disclosure requirements, India-specific ESG metrics, and assurance requirements.

The committee will also enhance ESG ratings approaches to increase focus on ‘S’ (including employment generation), establish uniform ‘G’ indicators that can be used as inputs in ESG and credit ratings, and require ESG rating providers to disclose the qualitative factors used in their ratings and their rationale for doing so.

SEBI said disclosures specific to ESG schemes of mutual funds will also be continuously enhanced, with a particular focus on addressing mis-selling and greenwashing risks.

“The evolution of standards and norms for ESG is a dynamic process which necessitates continuous evaluation,” SEBI said, adding that the committee will explore the introduction of prudential requirements for ESG funds, and mandatory ESG disclosures for all mutual fund schemes.

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