CSR Reporting Obligations – Law Now in Force:
On 9th March the German parliament passed the draft bill on CSR reporting obligations.
The most important points, as outlined in our post from December 2016 , have not changed. A summary of the most important changes as compared to the draft bill can be found here:
- Slight changes – Inspection/Testing obligations: As already outlined in the draft bill, there is no obligation for companies to have the CSR reports checked externally. However, companies which voluntarily commission external auditors are obliged to publish their test results in accordance with the actual report. The obligation to disclose the test result will only be in force as of the financial year 2019, and not with immediate effect as outlined in the draft bill.
- NEW – Publication deadline: The previous draft bill provided for parallel reports to be published six months after the balance sheet date. Now, a shorter time limit of four months applies after the balance sheet date, i.e. the same period as for the Group management report.
- NEW- Subsidiary companies: There is some relief for subsidiary companies. The draft bill provided that subsidiary companies whose parent company was in the EU need not compile a separate CSR report. The law now stipulates that this exception is also applicable for subsidiary companies whose parent company is located outside the EU – but only if the parent company provides a CSR report that complies with EU regulations.
- NEW- Reporting standards: It is up to the companies to decide on which standard they use for reporting. The previous draft bill stated that “national, European or international frameworks” were employable. New as compared to the draft bill is the following: companies must also justify not using any of the existing standards.
The Federal Association of German Banks has published a Guide to the German Sustainability Code (DNK) to support banks in complying with the reporting obligations. Detailed information as well as a contact can be found here.