Prysmian and CSRD


Prysmian and CSRD

Prysmian: challenges and best practices in reporting sustainability data

Alessandro Pirri, Prysmian’s Senior Manager Sustainability for Business, discusses Prysmian’s activities in sustainability reporting

Today, sustainability reporting requires a comprehensive approach, which may demand adjustments to corporate governance, investments in new systems and expertise, and ongoing commitment to sustainability principles. Which steps is Prysmian taking? Which best practices and smart approaches can the company share?


Companies may find collecting and ensuring accuracy, reliability, and consistency of sustainability data across sectors challenging, especially if they haven’t done anything similar before. You need to understand how sustainability impacts financial performance, for example, keep up to date with requirements, and know how these apply to your company. That can be challenging. It’s vital to understand how ‘Organization’ differs from ‘Products’. Impact on emissions from cable production doesn’t equal Prysmian’s total impact on emissions, for example (and required Corporate Social Responsibility data includes much more than emissions).

Prysmian has years of experience with sustainability reporting and working with the Non-Financial Declaration (NFD). This stimulates disclosure in areas where reporting standards are evolving (social, environmental, risk...). New items are added annually, so we have experience with changing requirements and implementing technology and systems to support sustainability reporting. We’ve put a great deal of effort into aggregating data. The latest challenge is addressing evolving requirements ensuring reliability and completeness of information involving a wider audience.

Scope 1 and 2 reporting (see box) is straightforward, but Scope 3 is a new paradigm. The essential Scope 3 requires interaction with inbound streams (fairly easy to track) as well as outbound supply chains (a potential nightmare). It’s not hard to ask goods providers exactly what they’ve done, but it’s hard to map what happens to your products after they leave. Cable products’ GHG emissions are primarily in the operational phase - beyond our control. We’re working hard to optimise Scope 3 downstream reporting. The best available tools weren’t created for our sector and can be challenging to work with. We have access to enough data and knowledge for Cradle to Gate monitoring*. However, tracking from Cradle to Gate and Grave (end of lifecycle) means working with figures from third party databases and final users (mainly customers). These may be averages of averages and estimations. The full environment is not yet mature in this area - a big challenge for our industry. We also disclose products’ environmental aspects on a panel. For this, we rely on our cable design and costing software, into which we enter technical information about a cable - raw materials, quantities, machinery usage... Tricky, but extra complex when you want the tool to manage product-related environmental data.


*Assessing part of a product lifecycle from resource extraction (cradle) to factory gate (prior to transportation to the consumer)

Input partly consists of information we already have (materials, production site energy consumption associated with product manufacturing). However, to assess our products’ environmental impact we also rely on internationally recognized databases providing emission factors associated with each material or product Life Cycle phase. We’ve been collecting, analysing, and storing this data for all our plants (over 100) for some time, fine-tuning and perfecting the process. Input also consists of information on raw material, such as copper, aluminium, and plastics. Suppliers usually provide ESG impact information. If this isn’t available, we investigate dedicated databases such as Ecoinvent.

In Europe, an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) can show a product’s environmental impact. Producing the exact same cable at two different plants gives two different EPDs. For example, one cable might be produced with coal-based power and the other with nuclear or renewable energy. Shipping within a country also gives a very different rating than international shipping. That makes comparisons between companies impossible - but you can make comparisons within your company. For example, to determine which approaches and processes work best.


Scope-based CSRD reporting, however, should allow comparing of individual companies’ sustainability performance. CSRD aims to standardize sustainability reporting, requiring companies to adapt. Overall, we can conclude that data quality and assumptions strongly affect the numerical results of sustainability reporting. The scope of new European regulations is to commit to transparency regarding what a manufacturer has done and how they arrived at a certain outcome. However, it asks companies to think about long-term sustainability strategies and how these are reported and audited – a potentially significant shift if you’re used to focusing on short-term financial performance.

For products, Prysmian introduced its ECO CABLE label some time ago. This uses measurable, known assessment criteria to summarize cables’ contribution to climate change, paving the way for the cable industry’s inclusion in eco or green labelling systems.