European Commission publishes guidelines on non-financial reporting

To support companies with their non-financial reporting duties according to the EU Directive 2014/95/EU, the European Commission (EC) recently released a factsheet with frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the matter as well as a set of methodological guidelines.

 

FAQs

 

The FAQs answer basic questions like
-    What will change? What information has to be disclosed and how?
-    Who is subject to the reporting requirement of Directive/2014/95/EU?
-    What has been the approach to disclosures related to conflict minerals?
-    Is the issue of business and human rights addressed in the guidelines?

> Frequently asked questions: Guidelines on disclosure of non-financial information

Guidelines

 

Following the announcement of “non-binding guidelines on methodology for reporting non-financial information” in Article 2 of Directive 2014/95/EU, the EC published said guidelines “in order to help companies concerned disclose non-financial information in a relevant, useful, consistent and more comparable manner.”

According to the introduction, these guidelines are “non-binding” and do “not create new legal obligations”. They aim at helping “companies disclose high quality, relevant, useful, consistent and more comparable non-financial (environmental, social and governance-related) information in a way that fosters resilient and sustainable growth and employment, and provides transparency to stakeholders”. The guidelines also stress the importance of  inter-relations between financial and non-financial information.

Using explanations and examples, the guidelines illustrate
-    How to understand and execute the individual key principles of the Directive
-    Which content is relevant
-    Which reporting frameworks can be used
-    Which aspects should be considered for baord diversity disclosure

> Guidelines on disclosure of non-financial information

Background

 

The Directive 2014/95/EU regarding “disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings and groups” dates back to October 22, 2014. Most EU Member States have since transferred the Directive into national law. One of the last member states to do so was Germany with the „Gesetz zur Stärkung der nichtfinanziellen Berichterstattung der Unternehmen in ihren Lage- und Konzernlageberichten (CSR-Richtlinie-Umsetzungsgesetz)“ brought into force on April 19, 2017.

The Directive applies to large public-interest entities with more than 500 employees, who will have to disclose relevant non-financial information on environmental and social matters such as human rights and anti-corruption practices.

> Directive 2014/95/EU