Sustainability Reporting in the European Union

Sustainability reporting for a smart, sustainable and inclusive European Union.

 Policy Developments

The Directive on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large companies is now in force, with member states required to have legislation in place as of December 2016. It is expected that the first company reports will be published in 2018 covering financial year 2017-2018.

The Directive introduces measures that will strengthen the transparency and accountability of approximately 6000 companies in the EU. These so-called ‘public interest entities’*  with more than 500 employees will be:

• Required to report on environmental, social and employee-related, human rights, anti-corruption and bribery matters;
• Required to describe their business model, outcomes and risks of the policies on the above topics, and the diversity policy applied for management and supervisory bodies;
• Encouraged to rely on recognized frameworks such as GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, OECD Guidelines, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 26000 and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Tripartite Declaration.

GRI and CSR Europe, supported by Accountancy Europe, have developed a publication which outlines the principal elements of the 28 Member States’ laws, and provides insight on the direction non-financial reporting is headed in Europe.

This Directive is part of the wider European Union’s initiative on Corporate Social Responsibility which includes plans for a consistent approach to reporting to support smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in pursuit of the Europe 2020 objectives.
The European Commission launched this proposal for a directive in April 2013 following its announcement in the Single Market Act (2011) and in the Renewed Strategy 2011-2014 for Corporate Social Responsibility (2011).  
Furthermore, the European Parliament has also adopted two resolutions in 2013 with regard to implementing the European Commission’s CSR strategy: a Report on Corporate Social Responsibility: promoting society’s interests and a route to sustainable and inclusive recovery; and a Report on Corporate Social Responsibility: accountable, transparent and responsible business behaviour and sustainable growth.
For more details on the Directive please refer to the pages further below.


 Revision of the NFR-directive 2020

​In its 11 December 2019 Communication on the European Green Deal, the Commission committed to review the non-financial reporting directive in 2020 as part of the strategy to strengthen the foundations for sustainable investment.

In line with that commitment, on 20 February 2020 the Commission launched a public consultation on the review of the NFRD. This closed on 11 June 2020. Read GRI's contribution to the consultation here.

The European Commission will now review all contributions and start working on the legislative proposal. GRI will continue to engage with other stakeholders, partners and the corporate community throughout 2020. Furthermore GRI stands ready to apply its global expertise in sustainability reporting and standard setting to the EU process – and is willing to work closely with the Commission and other stakeholders to ensure the outcome of this process will meet the EU's high ambitions with regard to driving transparency and sustainability reporting, while at the same time fitting with global best practice.


 GRI and the EU


 Publication: Member State Implementation of Directive 2014/95/EU

This publication maps the national laws implementing the Directive in all the 28 EU Member States as well as two additional countries from the wider European Economic Area (EEA): Iceland and Norway. The publication is a useful resource for companies as well as policymakers and other stakeholders to gain an overview of the current state of non-financial reporting policies implementing the Directive across Europe. It aims to help with a comparison of the national-level transpositions, and to support companies to prepare for its practical implementation for reporting cycles in 2018.