Brussels/Madrid, 15 November 2014 – The Directive requiring large EU companies to produce yearly statements revealing non-financial information must now be implemented by Member States following its adoption by the Council of the European Union last month and its publication in the Official Journal of the EU today.

The Directive will specifically require businesses to publish information relating to environmental, social, and employee-related matters, human rights, anti-corruption, and bribery as well as produce an evaluation of potential risks involved and the strategy employed to mitigate them.

Access Info Europe welcomes the Directive’s implementation across Europe. «As the first EU legislation concerned with non-financial reporting, this is a positive step towards increased business transparency, paving the way for increased access to information about the economic, social, and environmental impacts of private businesses,» stated Pam Bartlett Quintanilla, Campaigns Coordinator at Access Info Europe.
However, there are some shortfalls that risk limiting the potential effectiveness of the Directive in practice. Firstly, the 500 employee threshold set for non-financial reporting to be mandatory means that only 6,000 out of 42,000 large EU companies will be required to issue non-financial statements. Secondly, there is a lack of common indicators that would facilitate cross-country and cross-sector comparisons, making it difficult for citizens and civil society organisations to use the data in their campaigning. Thirdly, the flexibility granted to Member States for the Directive’s enforcement threatens to undermine the goal of ensuring a level playing field across the EU for all businesses. Finally, the ambiguity around the «emergency exit» clause, whereby non-disclosure is allowed when the information in question concerns ongoing negotiations, needs to be further clarified if a transparent approach is to be uniformly adopted.

It is now up to the EU Member States to ensure that the Directive on non-financial reporting shifts business rationale away from purely financial criteria so that respect for human rights and protection of the environment eventually become core business standards. Civil society across Europe will be working over the next few years to ensure adequate implementation of non-financial reporting by all companies, and will continue to call for these requirements to extend to a greater number of large businesses in Europe.

For more information, please contact:

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla | Access Info Europe
+34 913 656 558