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Insights for SFDR: a strategic guide for startups

20. June 2024

If you're reading this, you are likely driven by a mission to make a significant impact on the world. You are building something remarkable and aiming to attract investors who share your vision. However, there's a challenge: these investors are looking for more than just an innovative idea—they seek assurance that their investments are sustainable and compliant with regulations like the SFDR.

This guide provides an overview of the SFDR, with a special focus on Articles 8 and 9, to help startups navigate these requirements successfully. Let's delve into the key strategies for adhering to SFDR and securing investor confidence.

Understanding SFDR: What's the Buzz?

The SFDR, or Sustainable Financial Reporting Directive, is the European Union's framework for increasing transparency in sustainable investments. Think of it as a way to prove to investors that your startup isn't just profitable but also doing good for the planet and society.

Article 8 and 9 are where the magic happens: 

Article 8: This applies to financial products promoting environmental or social characteristics, but they don't have to have sustainability as their main objective. These products must also consider the Principal Adverse Impacts (PAIs), which are metrics used to assess negative effects on sustainability factors like climate change, biodiversity, water, and social and employee matters.

Article 9: This one's the heavy hitter. It's for financial products that have sustainable investment as their core objective. If you're here, it means you're not just talking the talk—you're walking the walk. These products must also address PAIs, ensuring that their investments do not significantly harm any environmental or social objectives and contribute positively to sustainability.

Why does this impact you as a startup?

Impact investors are increasingly focusing on sustainability. They’re not just looking for the next unicorn; they want unicorns that help tackle climate change, social inequality, and other global challenges. Aligning with SFDR not only makes you more attractive to these investors but also sets a strong foundation for long-term, sustainable growth.


Getting started with SFDR Compliance

1. Know your Sustainability Goals

First things first, define what sustainability or impact means for your business. Are you reducing carbon emissions, promoting social equity, or focusing on sustainable supply chains? Clarity here will set the direction for your entire strategy. 

2. Assess your Current Impact

Conduct an ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) assessment of your company. This can be a simple, back-of-the-envelope exercise or a more formal assessment done by a third party. The most important thing is to gain a clear understanding of where your actions will have the largest impact.

3. Set Clear Targets and KPIs

Investors want to see that you're serious about sustainability. Based on your assessment, set tangible targets. This is where Principal Adverse Impacts (PAIs) can be incredibly useful. PAIs are specific metrics that help identify and measure the negative effects your business activities might have on sustainability factors. Use these insights to inform your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). For example:

  • Aim to reduce carbon emissions by 20% over the next three years.

  • Acquire a supplier with 10% less carbon-intensive raw materials.

  • Employ two female board members within the next year.

  • Reduce energy consumption by 15% across all operations.

For Article 9 compliance, aligning your targets with PAIs ensures your sustainability efforts are robust and meet investor expectations. This might include addressing adverse impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, water usage, and social inequality.

4. Document for Transparency

Transparency is key. Document the strategies, processes and outcomes. This documentation will be crucial for your SFDR disclosure. 


Navigating Article 8 and Article 9

Article 8: If you're aiming for Article 8, you should transparently communicate how your products promotes environmental or social characteristics. Use reports to back up your marketing and website. Incorporate methodologies used and data sources as investors need to trust your claims. 

Article 9: promoting sustainability at its core. Here's your game plan: 

Deep integration: sustainability should be the core of your business. Whether it's your product design, supply chain, or corporate governance, every aspect should reflect your commitment. 

Impact Reporting: Go beyond just promoting - you need to show actual impact. Regularly update your investors with data on how you're achieving your sustainability goals. 

Third-Party Verification: Consider getting your claims verified by an independent third-party, get the data and numbers to back up your claims. 


In today's investment landscape, demonstrating your commitment to sustainability is more important than ever. By aligning with SFDR requirements, particularly Articles 8 and 9, you not only meet regulatory standards but also position your startup.This alignment can significantly enhance your attractiveness to impact investors who are eager to support businesses that contribute to solving global challenges.

At ClimatePoint, we offer comprehensive Article 8 and 9 assessments, including the necessary PAIs, formatted correctly to meet potential investors' requirements even before due diligence. Talk to our experts to ensure your sustainability efforts are robust, transparent, and investment-ready.

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ClimatePoint Methodology
The ClimatePoint team, writing about everything impact.