According to the European Union’s climate taxonomy, certain organisations must publish to what extent their operations are environmentally sustainable. In order to clarify what information the companies need to report, as well as how this should be done, the EU Commission has prepared a new delegated regulation. Primarily, the delegated regulation establishes relevant financial key ratios and different report precedents.
This article supplements the articles published previously in relation to new technical inspection criteria in accordance with the EU’s climate taxonomy as well as the EU’s proposal for a new sustainability directive.
Primarily, the new delegated regulation has consequences for companies which, according to the EU’s Taxonomy Regulation (2020/852), are obliged to report how environmentally sustainable their operations are. This includes those companies which are obliged to publish a sustainability report according to the EU’s Financial Reports Directive (2013/34), i.e. large companies or parent companies in large corporations that constitute public interest entities, and which have employed, on average, more than 500 people during the financial year. The definition of public interest entities includes listed companies, financial institutions, insurance companies as well as those companies which the member states regard as being public interest entities. In Sweden, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority has decided that certain securities companies and occupational pension companies also fall into this category.
As is evident from the previous article concerning the proposed new sustainability directive, the aim is to expand the area of application of the Financial Reports Directive. It proposes that all large companies, i.e. even those which are not listed on an exchange or have an average of more than 500 employees, must publish a sustainability report as of 1 January 2023. In addition, it is proposed that both small- and medium sized companies, save for micro companies, must also publish a sustainability report as of 1 January 2026. If the proposal is adopted, this will entail that a significantly larger number of companies will have to report on how environmentally sustainable their operations are according to the Taxonomy Regulation. The Commission’s hopes that this regulatory framework will be adopted at the beginning of 2022.
According to the new delegated regulation, the information which must be published differs dependent on whether the company is a so-called financial company or a non-financial company. The former category includes finance companies, securities companies, asset management companies as well as insurance and reinsurance companies. Non-financial companies include all other companies which are required to publish a sustainability report according to the Financial Reports Directive. According to the delegated regulation companies shall, among other things, publish different financial key ratios which indicate the extent to which their operations are environmentally sustainable. Accordingly, the following is applicable to each company category:
In addition, certain qualitative information which explains the key ratios must also be published such as information concerning the company’s financial reporting policy. The companies shall report the information in table format, using the precedents contained in the delegated regulation. This in turn shall be included in the sustainability report which, according to the Financial Reporting Directive, shall be included in the companies’ directors’ report. The contents of the sustainability report must subsequently be audited by the companies’ auditors.
The EU Commission is expected to formally adopt the delegated regulation at the end of June 2021. Thereafter, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have four months to review the draft legislation, which can be extended by up to two months.
Provided the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union do not have any objections, the delegated regulation will enter into force in separate stages:
The EU Commission’s draft of the new delegated regulation can be found here.