Companies in Germany describe that with the first reporting cycle after the adoption of the CSR Directive Implementation Act (CSR-Richtlinien-Umsetzungsgesetz, CSR-RUG), the effort but also the attention for sustainability has risen, especially among the executive management and the supervisory board. This is shown by the study „New momentum for reporting on sustainability?” published by the German Global Compact Network (DGCN) and econsense – Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business in June 2018. The study is now also available in English.
How companies perform regarding sustainability and how they report on it in public has become increasingly relevant in recent years due to the expectations of investors, governments, civil society or customers. In Germany, non-financial reporting is regulated by the CSR-RUG since April 2017. Companies must disclose information on non-financial matters, business related risks, due diligence processes and key performance indicators. It requires large companies to disclose information on environmental matters, social and employee-related matters, on respect for human rights and on anti-corruption and bribery matters.
The DGCN and econsense have been intensively supporting the development of sustainability reporting in the business world for many years. The study shows that companies implement the CSR-RUG in a wide variety of formats and with differing approaches. The application of the law is challenging for companies. However, implementation resulted in positive effects on company-wide awareness for sustainability for the majority of the companies.
The study is based on all 255 non-financial statements published until the 30 April 2018, an online survey conducted with 90 companies and 24 interviews with company representatives with various functions
- on the reporting formats that have been used,
- on the experiences and insights of companies when first applying the law and
- on the impact on internal processes and the relevance of non-financial matters.