CSR Reporting – Sustainable Finance

Sustainability will play a more important role in corporate reporting in the future. In this regard, there is an increased interest in all areas of society and in particular at national and international political level.

At European level, the concept of the European Green Deal has been presented and the Sustainable Finance Advisory Board set up by the German government has presented its final report, in which it calls for the expansion of sustainability reporting. Furthermore, the Supply Chain Act will come into force on January 1, 2023, which also provides for disclosure obligations in the area of sustainability. These are just the latest examples of a stronger focus on sustainability at a political level.

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Sustainability reporting – corporate social responsibility reporting

In the past, many companies have already started to publish their sustainability activities in a separate report. However, only large capital market-oriented companies have been obliged to do so to date. For smaller companies, it is more likely to be the customers, employees or competitors who “demand” reporting.

A prerequisite for reporting is the implementation of a sustainability management concept within the company. Processes and procedures must be examined with regard to their sustainability and adapted if necessary. It should be noted that annual reporting requires corresponding reporting lines. It must be possible to collect key figures and other information on an ongoing basis and with consistent quality in order to report on them.

Audit obligation

The legal obligation to report on sustainability and the extension of this to SMEs is unlikely to be long in coming. Once this has been introduced, a statutory audit obligation is also likely to be introduced in the medium term.

To date, sustainability reports have been audited in accordance with the international auditing standard ISAE 3000. Which examines the sustainability management concept and other disclosures in the report. The audit standard is intended to ensure the comparability of audit services.

The audit process in general is comparable to that of a traditional audit of financial statements. This means that the reporting processes are recorded and selected disclosures must be supported by correspondingly resilient audit evidence.
The audit is documented by a note on the sustainability report.

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