GRI backs EU proposal for separate pillar on non-financial reporting

Published date: 15 January 2021

Plans for EFRAG to broaden role requires establishment of a professional sustainability standard setting function

As part of the European Commission review of the Non-financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), it is exploring how new European sustainability standards could be created and managed.  

The Commission has asked the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) to consider the changes needed to its governance, if it were to take on responsibility for creating non-financial reporting standards. Until now, EFRAG’s remit has been to advise on financial standards only.

In this context, GRI has submitted a response to EFRAG’s consultation, setting out how GRI and the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB) can contribute to the European solution. This includes addressing the need for one global set of sustainability reporting standards, in order to secure the necessary changes to achieve a sustainable economy.

GRI supports a proposed governance change by EFRAG that would introduce a two-pillar structure for financial and non-financial reporting, which is needed to ensure both are given equal weight and rigor.

The GRI Standards, the most widely used sustainability reporting standards in Europe and beyond, are well positioned to play a key role in achieving the Commission’s aims to improve and expand non-financial reporting in the EU. Furthermore, our globally applicable, independent standards can be a bridge to achieving an international solution. The EU has an opportunity to provide global leadership, as the first major jurisdiction to mandate sustainability reporting with the same rigor as financial reporting. GRI stands ready to work with EFRAG and the Commission to make this a reality.”

Peter Paul van de Wijs, GRI Chief External Affairs Officer

The European Commission is reviewing the Non-financial Reporting Directive, which requires large companies operating within the EU to publicly disclose sustainability information. It is expected to share its final proposal by the end Q1 2021.

A consultation on the changes to EFRAG’s governance closed on 14 January. GRI’s response aligns closely with our IFRS consultation contribution from December (and a previous submission provided in October to the EFRAG Project Task Force).