The reporting of non-financial information and information about diversity is becoming increasingly important. The EU Directive on this subject is now also legally mandatory in Belgium for the largest public-interest entities. Among others, the largest listed companies, banks and insurance companies must now report on environmental and social policy and diversity.
On 11 September 2017 the law regarding the disclosure of non-financial information was published in the Belgian Official Journal. This is a result of the European Directive (2014/95/EU). The law is applicable to the largest public-interest entities (PIE). These are:
- Listed companies
- Insurance companies
- Institutions which are designated as public-interest entities by the government
These are major organisations which have at least 500 employees. In addition, they have total assets of more than EUR 20 million or a net turnover of more than EUR 40 million.
The main reason for the EU Directive is to foster transparency. This increases confidence among investors, consumers and other stakeholders. The Belgian law must ensure that investors can better assess the risks of their investment. It also promotes the uniformity of reporting on non-financial information and information about diversity.
About the reporting
According to the law, a PIE must provide insight into how, in its own business operations and value chains, it deals with:
- Environmental, social and personnel affairs
- Respect for human rights
- Combating bribery and corruption
When doing so, it must provide information about each of the following topics:
- The policy adopted
- The results of the policy adopted
- The principal risks and management of these risks
- Non-financial performance indicators
The principle of comply-or-explain is also applicable. This means that if the PIE does not have a diversity policy or does not report on certain non-financial information, it must justify this.
The law takes effect retroactively and is applicable to the financial year starting on 1 January 2017 or during the 2017 calendar year.
Do you, as a major public-interest entity, have any questions about this law or compliance with it? Then please feel free to contact us for the necessary assistance.
Of course, we also help any other types of organisations trying to find their way in the complex landscape of sustainability reporting. For instance, as a Global Network Partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), we contribute to their Reporting Exchange. This is a free online platform which provides access to reliable, comparable information concerning global requirements and sources regarding sustainability reporting.