Journal – Study on the non-financial reporting of the DAX 160 companies

Sustainability can no longer be viewed as just a new trend, but is integrated into companies over the long term. Accordingly, more and more companies are voluntarily reporting on their non-financial performance in a sustainability report. In the meantime, certain companies are obliged to meet additional requirements of the CSR Directive Implementation Act (CSR-RUG) in the form of non-financial (corporate) declarations in addition to their previous voluntary sustainability reporting. In the following, a study is presented that examines the non-financial reporting of the DAX 160 companies and analyzes it according to certain criteria. (Those: BDO AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft)

The study included all companies that were listed in the DAX 160 of Deutsche Börse AG on June 30, 2020 and that had published their sustainability reports and / or their non-financial (group) declaration by this time. In the analysis, the Sustainability reports as well as the non-financial (corporate) statements examined according to the CSR-RUG and evaluated using various criteria. Basis of the analyzed Compensation reports all DAX 160 companies based in the Federal Republic of Germany were formed, regardless of whether they were required to submit a non-financial (group) declaration.

Conclusion

Based on the results of the study carried out, it can be stated that there are in some cases significant differences in the non-financial reporting. To increase the credibility of the non-financial reporting, 38 percent (sustainability reports) and 74 percent (non-financial (corporate) statements) have already been subjected to an external audit. These tests served 100 percent or 91 percent to achieve a limited level of security based on the ISAE 3000 (Revised) test standard.

In only 48 percent of the sustainability reports analyzed, the current issue of human rights was classified as material. In the statutory reporting, the topic of human rights was much more established at 87 percent than in the voluntary sustainability reporting. It remains to be seen how this could change against the background of a possible so-called supply chain law (Due Diligence Act).

In addition, sustainability-related KPIs were included in a variable compensation system in only 32 percent of the compensation reports evaluated. In these analyzed remuneration reports, only nine percent of the extent and the time horizon of the underlying objective were described. However, with the ARUG II and the linkage of executive board remuneration with sustainable corporate development required therein, there could be an indication that sustainability-related KPIs will be increasingly included in the future.

The study “Quo Vadis? The non-financial reporting in the DAX 160 “is under this link in its entirety.

Note on the source: The article is based on a report by Nils Borcherding, Senior Manager Professional Practice & Governance and auditor for quality control according to Section 57a ​​(3) WPO, on the BDO AG website Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft.

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