Better late than never: In July 2017, the European Commission published its guidelines for the disclosure of non-financial information. The aim of the guidelines is to support companies that are affected by the regulation on nonfinancial reporting. However, whether the guidelines will be sufficient as a basis for reporting is up for debate.
As you may know, the EU directive 2014/95/EU of October 2014 requires companies of public interest with more than 500 employees to provide information on environmental, social and workers’ concerns. It also requires companies to report on measures to respect human rights and fight corruption. Most EU member states have transposed the directive into national law without making major adjustments.
Companies affected by the regulation are required to publish the required sustainability information for the 2017 financial year by 2018. To support reporting companies, the European Commission had announced guidelines to facilitate the interpretation of the requirements, scheduled for publication in May 2017.
With a delay of three months, the commission has now published the guidelines in various languages. However, those who had expected a comprehensive guide on reporting may be disappointed: although the 20-page document describes the basic principles of reporting, it lacks details, in particular regarding reporting methodology. Important questions concerning, amongst other things, the timing of the reporting, the application of the principles and the definition of key concepts have been insufficiently addressed to serve as a basis for reporting.
We therefore reiterate the recommendation expressed in our Whitepaper (in German only) to focus on existing frameworks, such as the Standards of the Global Reporting Initiative, for fulfilling the CSR reporting obligations.
The guidelines are available free of charge in the EUR-Lex portal.