ESG - does the IDW need to be extended?

Starting from the capital markets, the topic of ESG Environmental Social Governance is also gaining relevance for corporate practice. Already in 2019, Bafin provided procedural guidance to supervised companies in the leaflet on sustainability risks, followed in 2020 by the ECB's guidance on dealing with climate and environmental risks. In this regard, the IDW published "Questions and Answers on the Consideration of ESG-Related Aspects in IFRS Financial Statements" on December 21, 2021.

It is a question of time until the topic arrives in the SME sector similar to the Supply Chain Act. If the EU follows through with its announcements, the (digitally underpinned and publicly accessible) ESG rating will become an essential target figure for corporate activity. If companies with a strong credit rating can still meet the requirements, the hurdles for restructuring will become much higher and formally more demanding. Oliver Kehren, CEO of the restructuring company TMA Germany, already observes "cases in which companies in crisis have not been able to obtain new financing because they did not meet the ESG requirements of potential financiers."

In the new version of IDW S 6 (as of May 16, 2018), adaptability and, in particular, digitalization were explicitly included in the assessment, but the topic of ESG does not yet play a role despite its enormous scope. In the future, it will no longer be sufficient to define only return and capital targets, but proof of compliance with ESG criteria at the end of the forecast period must be provided. bachert & partner is therefore working on an expansion of the restructuring concepts to include:

- an ESG check, which represents common scoring models in a reduced form

- an inclusion of ESG criteria in the mission statement and documentation of resulting opportunities and risks in the plan calculation

- an addition of ESG conformity at the end of the forecast period to the assessment of restructuring capability

In our view, ESG offers a great opportunity for greater transparency and a more sustainable economy - as long as the bureaucracy remains manageable and SMEs exsist..