XBRL News: sustainability reporting, Dutch real estate and ESEF

Here is our pick of the 3 most important XBRL news stories this week. 

1 The Future of ESG is … Accounting?

Companies, investors and consumers alike are frustrated by a lake of standardized accounting for corporate ESG performance. This might be about to change thanks to a recent proposal from the IFRS Foundation, which is the body that oversees the work of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in setting financial reporting requirements for most companies in the world. If the proposal is adopted, investors and other stakeholders will suddenly have a much clearer view of a company’s sustainability performance—just as they do its financial performance. 

One of the leading scholars of integrated reporting discusses upcoming sustainability reporting in Harvard Business Review – they times, they are a-changing! Mandatory reading for everybody interested in reporting, be it of the financial or the non-financial kind.

2 ING Bank implements XBRL and digital signatures in new real estate reporting

ING Bank in the Netherlands recently launched a new XBRL-based project designed to increase efficiency, trust and transparency in real estate valuation. Following the introduction of XBRL for real estate valuation reports, this new initiative includes the final piece in the puzzle: qualified, digital signatures. The valuation of property is a key part in the lending process for banks of all sizes. Up until now, valuation reports were in “paper under glass” PDF and required significant effort to use.

The pieces of the Dutch Standard Business Reporting initiatives are coming together, it seems. A qualified digital signature is an enormously important piece in the puzzle, as it is required to make the transaction legally binding in many jurisdictions. Otherwise there would always be a media break. This is great news!

3 ESMA publishes 2020 ESEF XBRL taxonomy files and ESEF conformance suite

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU securities markets regulator, has published the 2020 ESEF XBRL taxonomy files and an update to the ESEF Conformance Suite to facilitate implementation of the ESEF Regulation. ESMA aims to facilitate the implementation of the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) by providing to XBRL taxonomy files and Conformance Suite test files that reflect the requirements contained in the 2020 draft update to the ESEF Regulation and the 2020 update to the ESEF Reporting Manual.

Despite the oddly backwards looking 2020 naming convention this late in 2020, the ESEF taxonomy and conformance suite files obviously refer to what amounts to be the foundation of next year’s ESEF reporting in the European Economic Area. Trialogue (another nice Eurospeak term) is still ongoing as to whether and how an ESEF extension should be granted, so outside of the UK, there’s no other jurisdiction that is delaying ESEF so far.


Christian Dreyer CFA is well known in Swiss Fintech circles as an expert in XBRL and financial reporting for investors.

 We have a self-imposed constraint of 3 news stories each week because we serve busy senior leaders in Fintech who need just enough information to get on with their job.

 For context on XBRL please read this introduction to our XBRL Week in 2016 and read articles tagged XBRL in our archives. 

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