The CSR Directive Implementation Act requires the disclosure of information on non-financial issues, at least on environmental, labour and social affairs, the upholding of human rights and the prevention of corruption and bribery (Sect. 289c HGB). As regards the individual non-financial components, those disclosures are to be made which are necessary for gaining an understanding of the course of business, the business result and position of the company as well as of the effects of its operations on the non-financial components (see also definition of “materiality” in the Glossary). In accordance with Sect. 289c Para. 3 Nos. 1 to 6 HGB, material information regarding the individual non-financial aspects includes the following:
- Description of the policy in question, including the due diligence processes applied, as well as the results of the policy (see also definition of “policies” in the Glossary).
- Presentation of the material risks linked to business operations and which are highly likely to have significant negative impacts on the components as well as how these risks are dealt with (see definition of “risks” in the Glossary).
- Presentation of the material risks (see Glossary “risks”) linked with business partnerships, products and services and which are highly likely to have negative impacts on the components – insofar as the information is relevant and reporting on these risks is possible with commensurable effort – as well as how these risks are dealt with.
- Presentation of the most significant non-financial performance indicators that are relevant for the company’s business operations, and
- insofar as is necessary for understanding, references to the figures mentioned in the management report as well as supplementary explanations of these.
In addition to the information on non-financial disclosures, for companies or corporations subject to the reporting obligation, the business model must also be described.
If the company subject to reporting obligation has not implemented a specific policy with respect to individual aspects of sustainability, in place of a presentation of the policy and its results, the company must provide an explanation for this (“comply or explain” as per Sect. 289c Para. 4 HGB). Furthermore, the company may omit information the disclosure of which it deems to be to its own detriment, provided the requirements of Sect. 289e HGB are met. This is the case if, based on the prudent business assessment of the members of the authorised representative body of the stock corporation, the information could cause the company a considerable disadvantage and the non-disclosure of the information does not stand in the way of an accurate and balanced understanding of the course of business, the business result, the position of the company and the effects of its operations.