Our annual "What's Another Year?" bulletin is a snapshot of the key legal and regulatory developments which we can expect over the course of 2024, across a range of sectors and practice areas.


The Commission for Regulation of Utilities will further consult on introducing emissions requirements to the policy for connection of large energy users to the electricity and gas systems policy. Read more on an issue that arises in this and other energy transition matters in our Energy section.


Importers of cement, electricity, fertilisers, iron and steel, aluminium, and hydrogen to the EU are required to submit a first report by 31 January 2024 under the transitional phase obligations of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism Regulation. Read more on this and other sustainability-related developments in our Construction and Engineering section.


The Council of the EU and the European Parliament reached provisional agreement on the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) in December 2023. It is anticipated that the CSDDD will be formally adopted and enter force in Spring 2024, following which member states including Ireland will have two years within which to transpose it into national law.

The CSDDD will require large EU companies, and non-EU companies with significant turnover in the EU, to due diligence their own operations, those of their subsidiaries and of their upstream and downstream business partners, in order to identify, asses, prevent, mitigate, bring to an end and remedy negative impacts on human rights and the environment (such as child labour, slavery, labour exploitation, pollution, deforestation, excessive water consumption or damage to ecosystems). The financial sector will initially be excluded from scope in relation to due diligence of their downstream financial operations, but there will be a review clause for a possible future inclusion of this sector based on a sufficient impact assessment.

In-scope companies, including those in the financial sector, will also be required to adopt and put into effect a climate transition plan ensuring their business model complies with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement. Management of companies with over 1000 employees will receive financial benefits for implementing the transition plan.


The EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is required to be transposed into Irish law by 6 July 2024. The CSRD imposes sustainability reporting requirements on in-scope companies, across a broad range of environmental, social and governance topics in accordance with European sustainability reporting standards (ESRS).

The reporting obligations under the CSRD apply on a phased basis. From 1 January 2024 (reporting year 2025), reporting will commence for the first phase of reporting companies, which includes large EU listed companies with more than 500 employees.

The first set of (sector agnostic) ESRS will apply from 1 January 2024. EFRAG, technical advisor to the European Commission in relation to the ESRS, recently launched an ESRS Q&A platform for reporting companies, and will publish the first set of responses together with ESRS implementation guidance in Q1 2024. EFRAG will also work on developing sector-specific ESRS, ESRS for SMEs and voluntary reporting standards (for SMEs who do not fall within scope of the CSRD obligations) during 2024.


Trilogues on the European Commission's June 2023 proposal for a regulation on the transparency and operations of ESG ratings providers will start in early 2024 following confirmation of the EU Council's negotiating mandate on 20 December 2023. The European Parliament's negotiating mandate was confirmed on 4 December 2023.


The Council of the EU and European Parliament have reached agreement on the proposal for a Recast Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. The general approach is available here.

The Recast Directive will require that all new buildings are zero-emission as of 2030, and new buildings occupied or owned by public authorities are zero-emission as of 2028. Member States will also have to take measures to reduce primary energy consumption of existing buildings. Further information is available from the Council of the EU, European Parliament and Commission.

The next step is formal endorsement by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. Once this process is completed, the new legislation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and enter into force. Member States will have 24 months to implement the revised EPBD.


The European Banking Authority's exercise to collect climate-related data from 110 EU banks (as part of the one-off Fit-for-55 climate risk scenario analysis) started on 1 December 2023 and will complete on 12 March 2024. The European Commission has asked for results from the exercise by the end of 2024 (but no later than Q1 2025). Five Irish banks are in-scope.


The EU Green Bond Standard Regulation will apply from 21 December 2024. For more information, read our insights here, here and here.


Final reports from the EBA, ESMA and EIOPA (ESAs) in response to the European Commission's Call for Evidence looking for feedback on potential greenwashing practices across the EU financial sector are due by the end of May 2024. Interim progress reports were published by the ESAs in June 2023. For more information, read our insights here and here.


On 14 September 2023, the European Commission launched two consultations on the Sustainable Finance Disclosures Regulation (SFDR): a public consultation (the Public Consultation), and a targeted consultation (the Targeted Consultation), and together with the Public Consultation, the (Consultations). Both Consultations closed on 15 December 2023 and the European Commission plans to publish a feedback report in Q2 2024.

The purpose of the Consultations is to provide feedback to the European Commission on any shortcomings in the SFDR framework and options for improving the regime. The themes covered in the Consultations indicate that the European Commission is aware of some fundamental concerns regarding SFDR and acknowledges that SFDR would benefit from further clarity. For further detail on the Consultations, please see here.

"The EU Green Bond Standard Regulation will apply from 21 December 2024."


The Loan Market Association plans to publish a new guide on the application of the Sustainability-Linked Loan Principles to fund finance transactions, and mandate letters for sustainability coordinators in the SLL market, in Q1 2024.


The Amending EU Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act and the new EU Taxonomy Environmental Delegated Act came into force on 1 January 2024. For more information, read our insights here.

From 1 January 2024 (on FY 2023) undertakings, which are currently within scope of the Taxonomy Regulation, are required to report on Taxonomy-eligibility in respect of economic activities under the EU Taxonomy Environmental Delegated Act and in respect of the new economic activities included under the Amending EU Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act.

From 1 January 2024 (on FY 2023) financial undertakings, which are currently within scope of the Taxonomy Regulation, commence reporting on Taxonomy-alignment for the pre-existing economic activities under the EU Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act.

The Taxonomy Regulation currently applies to large EU listed companies within scope of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive. Entities within scope of the CSRD will also be subject to disclosure obligations under Article 8 of the Taxonomy Regulation.

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.