On 16 April 2013, the European Commission proposed new requirements for disclosure of non-financial information for all large companies in the EU. Investors, being a key audience of corporate reporting, are increasingly looking to assess not just the financial performance of the companies in which they invest, but also the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.
Some key survey findings are as follows:
The most important sources of non-financial information for investors are sustainability/CSR reports and annual reports.
A majority of respondents agree that current non-financial information published by companies is linked to the CSR policy. However, they disagree that current reporting is linked to business strategy and risk, and disagree that sufficient information is provided to assess financial materiality.
In order for non-financial information to be useful to investors it must be comparable across companies. Respondents state that current non-financial reporting is not sufficiently comparable and agree that non-financial information should be better integrated with financial information.
Qualitative policy statements are important to assess financial materiality, but quantitative key performance indicators (KPIs) are viewed as essential.