On 15th April the European Parliament adopted a long-awaited directive on non-financial reporting. Introducing a new solution that raises a lot of discussion is a success for the Member States. Is it a success also for Poland?
On 17th December 2013 the Legal Committee of the European Parliament adopted a report on disclosing in annual reports non-financial information relating to, inter alia, social, labour and environmental issues, respecting human rights, anti-corruption activities.
Ultimately, it did not adopt the initial assumptions that all companies employing more than 500 employees and reaching correspondingly high annual financial turnover will be subject to the new reporting obligation. Poland was one of the opponents of such a solution.
The compromise solution assumes that the non-financial reporting obligation applies to companies known as "public interest entities", which employ more than 500 employees, and whose nature of activities has a significant impact on public life (for example banks and insurance companies).
According to Katarzyna Rózicka, Director of the Dialogue Department at the Employers of Poland, reporting non-financial data is an extremely important issue. Reports already published show that companies are willing to take action to protect the environment and prevent corruption.
We should, however, remember about the threat this solution may pose. Entrepreneurs who, for instance, will not want to disclose their business plans will be able to apply for an exemption from the obligation to provide such information. This may cause controversy because of unequal treatment. Therefore, an obligation to report non-financial data should also clearly define sanctions for non-compliance with the specified requirements.