The proposed Directive is intended to fully replace Directive 2014/95/EU (Non-Financial Reporting Directive) and amend the provisions of the Directive on annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of companies (2013/34/EU), the "Transparency Directive" (2004/109/EC) and the "Audit Directive" and "Audit Regulation" (2006/43/EC and 537/2014). The proposed Directive aims to: Extend sustainability reporting obligations to include all large companies and all companies with securities listed on regulated markets in the EU, with the exception of micro-enterprises; Require reporting on a full range of sustainability information relevant to the company's business, and reporting to be in line with mandatory EU sustainability reporting standards to be developed by the European Commission; require sustainability information to be subject to a limited level of verification by auditors; and require companies to prepare their financial statements and management reports in a digital format and label sustainability information.
The Directive is proposed to be applied, as provided for in Directive 2014/95/EU, to large companies, including those in the financial market which, at the balance sheet date, exceed the criterion of having an average number of 500 employees during the financial year, thus:
which will have to comply with the mandatory requirements to include ESG aspects in the non-financial statement (see national legislation section), if they go beyond this criterion.
In addition, it is proposed to extend the application of this non-financial reporting requirement to all issuers traded on regulated markets, except micro-enterprises. It also extends the application to insurance companies operating as mutuals and to insurance cooperatives exceeding certain quantitative criteria.
The European Commission has put forward a proposal for a Regulation laying down a common framework of rules on the use of the designation "European Green Bond" or "EuGB" for bonds that pursue environmentally sustainable objectives within the meaning of Regulation (EU) 2020/852 (Taxonomy Regulation). The "European Green Bond" designation is available to all issuers, inside or outside the EU, that meet the requirements of the Regulation. The 4 key requirements for EuGBs are: the funds raised must be fully allocated to projects aligned with the EU taxonomy; full transparency on the allocation of proceeds must be ensured through detailed reporting requirements; all EU green bonds must be verified by an external assessor to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Regulation and that the projects funded are aligned with the taxonomy; external assessors must be registered and supervised by ESMA.
The Regulation will apply to bond issuers wishing to use the designation "European Green Bond" or "EuGB" for bonds issued that pursue environmentally sustainable objectives within the meaning of the Taxonomy Regulation.