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Eumedion focuses on climate reporting and executive remuneration in the 2021 AGM season

Eumedion focuses on climate reporting and executive remuneration in the 2021 AGM seasonNews · 13-10-2020

Climate reporting and executive remuneration are the two Eumedion focus points for the 2021 AGM season. These topics tend to be discussed in the dialogues Eumedion facilitates in the run-up to the 2021 general meetings, and occasionally also at the general meeting itself. Earlier this week, the so-called Eumedion Focus Letter 2021 was sent to all Dutch listed companies. 

Eumedion expects Dutch listed companies to align their climate reporting as much as possible with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures (TCFD) and of the European Commission. Eumedion also urges companies to formulate ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and to report clearly on the progress made in that respect. Furthermore, Eumedion encourages companies to set a deadline for becoming a ‘carbon neutral’ company.

Eumedion also believes that executives should feel the 'pain' of the current corona crisis if the company is forced to apply for government support, lay off employees or (significantly) reduce or cancel the dividend pay-out. In such situations, Eumedion expects the supervisory board to temporarily reduce the executives’fixed salary, cancel the 2020 annual bonus and/or not grant (conditional) performance shares or options in 2021. 

“Virtual AGMs are here to stay"; report of the webinar on the future of the AGM

“Virtual AGMs are here to stayNews · 05-10-2020

The possibility of holding a digital shareholders' meeting (AGM) must be structurally incorporated into Dutch company law. It should also be made possible for listed companies, within the framework of the shareholders' meeting, to decouple the discussion and accountability part of an AGM from the voting part. This was the view of a majority of participants in the webinar on The Future of AGMs held on 30 September. The webinar was organised by Eumedion, Clifford Chance and Euronext. The speakers and participants agreed that Dutch listed companies should have more flexibility in choosing the best AGM format.

During the webinar, Clifford Chance civil law notary and partner Mark Jan Arends gave an overview of the emergency law drawn up this Spring that made it possible for the Dutch listed company to hold a virtual AGM this year. He noted, among other things, that companies have dealt with the right of shareholders to ask questions in quite different ways. For example, DSM limited the number of questions that could be submitted prior to the AGM to a maximum of five per shareholder, Airbus did not offer shareholders the opportunity to ask follow-up questions, and Royal Dutch Shell held the Q and A session between the board and shareholders prior to the voting deadline for shareholders. He was in favour of a structural, legal embedding for the possibility of holding digital AGMs.

Subsequently, Adyen’s corporate secretary Brigitte van den Bosch, gave a presentation on how Adyen prepared and held the virtual AGM this year. Important topics included talks with investors and shareholders on AGM-related matters prior to the AGM. She said that this preparation was one of the reasons why the virtual AGM was a success. She too was very much in favour of being able to hold a virtual AGM in the future.

Eumedion executive director Rients Abma then presented the main findings and conclusions of institutional investors regarding the virtual AGM season 2020. He listed seven positive points, including better opportunities for foreign shareholders to participate and a lower AGM carbon footprint. Nevertheless, he also mentioned a number of points for improvement. He found the lack of live interaction between management, the supervisory board, the auditor and shareholders at most AGMs to be the main drawback. He also found the inability of a shareholder to make a live statement at the AGM to be a shortcoming. He felt that in the future listed companies should be given more flexibility to choose the 'AGM format': the physical AGM, the hybrid AGM, the virtual AGM and the possibility to split the discussion part of the AGM from the voting part, as Royal Dutch Shell did this season. However, these options should first be embedded into the company’s articles of association.

During the subsequent virtual discussion with the public, the advantages and disadvantages of the various AGM formats, the need to embed the formats in the articles of association and the advantages and disadvantages of a 'split' AGM were highlighted.

Eumedion calls on IASB to enhance disclosures on reverse factoring arrangements

Eumedion calls on IASB to enhance disclosures on reverse factoring arrangementsNews · 02-10-2020

An increasing number of companies are asking a financial institution to pay their suppliers, while paying the financial institution at a later instance. Such arrangements are identified as reverse factoring or Supply Chain Financing (‘SCF’) arrangements. Surprisingly few companies report on these arrangements. The IFRS Interpretations Committee tentatively concluded that the IFRS standards are sufficiently clear in how reverse factoring arrangements should be treated. If there is a material difference in the payment term of the supplier and the financial institution, the entire resulting liability should be categorised as a financial liability. In such a case, the reported amounts payables become meaningless. In Eumedion's response to the tentative IFRIC interpretation, Eumedion explains why payables are important for investors and why this results an overly pessimistic picture of the company. We suggest what disclosure would help investors assess what part of the liability resulting from the SCF arrangement is an in-substance payable and what part is an in-substance financial liability.

Eumedion supports IASB proposals that facilitate the comparison of ‘operating profit’

Eumedion supports IASB proposals that facilitate the comparison of ‘operating profit’News · 02-10-2020

Eumedion foresees significant enhancements in the insight and comparability of IFRS financial statements as a result from the proposed changes to IFRS by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). So says Eumedion in its response to the IASB’s Exposure Draft 'General Presentation and Disclosures’. The IASB proposes a definition of Operating profit and similar subtotals. Many investors assume that definitions for widely used subtotals already exist, but for most of them this is not the case. The proposals will address the current significant and unpredictable differences in definitions between companies. When a company introduces its own definitions of certain subtotals, it will be required to reconcilliate them to a nearby IFRS defined subtotal. Furthermore, more strict principles are introduced that clarify when line items can be aggregated and when they should be disaggregated. All in all are these proposals excellent news for investors.

Eumedion also sees room for further enhancements of the proposals. Investors are not in need of a additional proposed subtotal to distinguish between results of associates that the proposals define as ‘integral’ and associates that are not. The proposed IFRS variant of the widely used subtotal Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) is not in line with how investors and companies define EBITDA in practice. Eumedion proposes to not only exclude Depreciation and Amortisation, but to also exclude specific impairments, like goodwill.

Eumedion supports the establishment of an EU Green Bond Standard

Eumedion supports the establishment of an EU Green Bond StandardNews · 01-10-2020

An EU Green Bond Standard (EU GBS) can help promote a consistent, credible, efficient and comparable market for EU green bonds. Eumedion writes this today in its response to the European Commission’s (EC) call for feedback on the establishment of an EU GBS.

The EC has asked stakeholders to provide their input on how it can take forward the recommendations published by the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG) back in March of this year. Eumedion strongly supports the core elements of an EU GBS as proposed by the TEG, namely the Green Bond Framework, Allocation Report and Impact Report. In order to establish a practical and effective EU GBS, Eumedion draws attention to several possible issues, e.g. with regard to the further elaboration of the ‘do no significant harm’ principle where it regards green bonds used as refinancing tool and the refinement of the minimum safeguards for social and governance factors.

Also, Eumedion has indicated not to be a strong supporter of financial incentives for issuers or investors to support the uptake of EU Green Bonds. Rather, Eumedion is of the opinion that any incentives aimed at realising an increase in eligible projects and assets (and thus an increase in new green investments) should be accomplished at the level of general (climate) policy, stimulating or discouraging certain economic activities in relation to environmental objectives.

Webinar 'The Future of AGMs'

Webinar 'The Future of AGMs'Agenda · 30-09-2020

One of the many challenges listed companies faced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic was how to organise their AGMs remotely amidst lockdown and social distancing measures while still ensuring transparency and shareholder engagement. Many companies turned to hybrid or virtual AGMs, and with great success.

Some experts suggest that hybrid and virtual AGMs are here to stay and will remain part of the corporate landscape. To get insight into what to expect from the future of AGMsEumedion, Euronext and Clifford Chance will organise a webinar on Wednesday 30th September from 11:00 to 12:30 CET.

We have an exciting line-up of speakers from Clifford Chance, Adyen, Eumedion and Euronext, all providing different perspectives on this hot topic. They will be covering topics such as:

  • Legal requirements of AGMs – changes since COVID-19 and what to expect from the years to come | Mark Jan Arends, Notary and Partner at Clifford Chance
  • Adyen’s recent AGM experience – expectations, results and the future | Brigitte van den Bosch, Company Secretary at Adyen
  • The perspective of institutional investors on virtual / hybrid AGMs | Rients Abma, Executive Director at Eumedion
  • Tools available to ensure a successful AGM | Laurens van Dehn, Sales Manager, Benelux at Euronext Corporate Services

For first-hand experiences, best practices and trends on the horizon for AGMs, join our interactive webinar. Sign up here (free access). 

Eumedion pushes for revision of ICGN Global Governance Principles

Eumedion pushes for revision of ICGN Global Governance PrinciplesNews · 14-09-2020

Eumedion believes that the Global Governance Principles (GGP) should be revised in order to better protect shareholders from possible abusive actions by controlling shareholders. This follows from the today’s submitted Eumedion response to the consultation paper of the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) on the GGP.

Last July ICGN published a consultation paper about the purpose, use, structure and content of the GGP. In its response Eumedion makes some suggestions for further improvement of the guidance. Eumedion is of the opinion that minority shareholders should be protected from possible abusive actions by controlling shareholders. Eumedion believes that the current guidance fails to properly achieve this. Eumedion believes that in listed companies with a controlling shareholder the majority of the members of the supervisory or one-tier board should be independent. Furthermore, Eumedion believes that the company and the controlling shareholder should draw up a relationship agreement which at least confirms that all transactions between them will be agreed on customary market terms, regulates any representation on the board and contains assurances that all appearance of insider trading will be combatted. Eumedion suggests to reflect this in the GGP. In its response Eumedion also makes some suggestions in the field of reporting, the scope of the dialogue with the board and the inclusion of new topics in the GGP.

Ron Gruijters appointed to Task Force for possible establishment of EU standard setter for non-financial reporting

Ron Gruijters appointed to Task Force for possible establishment of EU standard setter for non-financial reportingNews · 07-09-2020

The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) has appointed Eumedion's sustainability policy officer Ron Gruijters to its Project Task Force on preparatory work for the elaboration of possible EU non-financial reporting standars. At the beginning of 2021, the 35-strong multi-stakeholder Task Force is to report, among other things, on the possibility of using existing non-financial reporting standards (such as those of the Global Reporting Initiative or of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) for this purpose, how the standards can be structured, whether separate standards should be developed for the financial sector, whether the standards should be developed in phases, starting with a number of general key performance indicators, and whether separate standards should be developed for small and medium-sized enterprises. Prior to the publication of the final report, a progress report should be delivered by the end of October 2020. The Task Force will also consider whether the governance structure and funding of EFRAG should be adapted should the European Commission decide to designate EFRAG as the standard setter for non-financial reporting standards. The Task Force is chaired by Patrick de Cambourg, President of the French Accounting Standards Board.

Eumedion: data are key to consistent ESG disclosures by institutional investors

Eumedion: data are key to consistent ESG disclosures by institutional investorsNews · 01-09-2020

The success of consistent and comparable sustainability disclosures by financial market participants under the ESG Disclosure Regulation will be highly dependent onESG data availability and ESG data quality. Eumedion writes this in its response to the consultation on the draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) under the ESG Disclosures Regulation issued by the joint European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs). 

While Eumedion supports the ESAs in developing a comprehensive framework for disclosure on the broader set of ESG factors, much of the data needed for consistent and comparable disclosure on material ESG factors is simply not (yet) available under the present, materiality-based requirements of the Non-financial information directive for EU listed companies. Additionally, Eumedion believes that the proposed technical standards for ESG disclosures are insufficiently aligned with other European ESG disclosure requirements for the financial sector, such as those stemming from the Benchmark Regulation. For these reasons, Eumedion calls upon the ESAs to both consider a smaller (core) set of indicators with a focus on materiality, and to address the methodological alignment with other legal requirements.This will increase the meaningfulness and relevance of the information provided to end-investors.

Eumedion supports IIRC proposals to revise Integrated Reporting Framework

Eumedion supports IIRC proposals to revise Integrated Reporting FrameworkNews · 19-08-2020

Eumedion generally supports the various clarifications proposed throughout the consultation draft of the revision of the International Integrated Reporting Framework. Eumedion writes this today in its response to the International Integrated Reporting Council’s (IIRC) call for feedback on the revision of the Integrated Reporting Framework. Such clarifications address, for example, the statement of responsibility for an integrated report and the need to differentiate between outputs and outcomes. Eumedion does emphasise, however, that the root causes of preparers incorrectly or only partially applying the Integrated Reporting Framework, may not necessarily be due to how the various concepts are presented in the current version of the Framework. Therefore, Eumedion does not readily expect that the clarifications will lead to substantial improvement in the quality of integrated reporting per se. In this light, Eumedion encourages the IIRC to further elaborate on the concept of integrated thinking, as well as to cooperate towards the creation of a global standard setter for the management report (as outlined in the Eumedion position paper ‘Towards a global, investor focused standard setter for corporate non-financial reporting’.

In the strategic, more forward looking part of the consultation questionnaire, Eumedion reiterates its strong disagreement with broadening the primary audience of the integrated report to all stakeholders of the company. This is in line with the Eumedion feedback on the Focused Engagement consultation earlier this year. 

2020 Dutch AGM season: record number of management proposals rejected without any live discussion at the AGMs

2020 Dutch AGM season: record number of management proposals rejected without any live discussion at the AGMsNews · 15-07-2020

Shareholders of Dutch listed companies have rejected a record number of resolutions this season of annual general meetings of shareholders (AGMs). However, there was hardly any discussion on these controversial resolutions at the AGMs. Due to the corona pandemic, live interaction between shareholders and executives and supervisory directors was missing. This is one of the main findings in today’s released Eumedion analysis of the 2020 AGM season.

Eumedion is pleased that thanks to the emergency legislation for convening virtual-only AGMs the continuity of decision-making at the AGMs could be guaranteed this year. Consequently, new CEOs could be appointed and authorisations to issue new shares could be granted. On the other hand, the AGM could hardly perform its function as a discussion and accountability platform. Questions had to be submitted in writing in advance of the AGM and were generally answered briefly by executives and supervisory directors. Shareholders often had to provide their voting instructions in advance of the AGM, so that the discussion at the AGM – if any – had no real impact. Eumedion therefore wonders whether it would not be better in the future to separate the moment of discussion, accountability and deliberation from the moment of voting. In this way, the quality of the answers to the shareholders' questions can still influence voting behaviour. Royal Dutch Shell was the first company that separated the ‘discussion part’ from the ‘voting part’ of the AGM and many Eumedion members appreciated it.

Remuneration policy was by far the most controversial topic this season. 24 out of the 50 resolutions that received significant shareholder dissent (over 20%) were related to this topic. A record of 13 resolutions to amend the remuneration policy were rejected or withdrawn by the board at the start or ahead of the AGM. This was partly due to a much more critical attitude of institutional investors, who for the first time were also legally obliged to evaluate the resolutions on "social effects". Another important reason was that for the first time a 75% AGM voting majority was required to get the resolutions adopted (instead of a simple majority). This made it easier for responsible and engaged shareholders to reject an excessive remuneration policy.

The 2020 AGM season by the numbers:

- In total, just over 1,000 resolutions were put to the vote this season. 50 of these resolutions received significant shareholder dissent (over 20%). 18 Resolutions were rejected by the AGM and 20 resolutions were withdrawn at the start or ahead of the AGM. Two proposals could only be adopted with the help of a "friendly" Trust Office.

- In total 41 virtual-only AGMs were held, representing 43% of the total number of AGMs held by Dutch listed companies. At the other AGMs, shareholders were discouraged from attending; between 0 and 9 shareholders were physically present at these AGMs.

- The corona pandemic only slightly reduced the average level of voter turnout: 72.3% at the AGMs of AEX companies (2019: 73.2%) and 63.3% at the AGMs of AMX companies ( 2019: 65.9%). In particular retail investors faced challenges with remote voting or were less interested in voting if they cannot attend the AGM in person.

- The number of female executives and supervisory directors rose sharply. AEX companies now have an average of 19% female executives. Last year this number was only 10%. For the first time in history, more new female than male supervisory directors were appointed in an AGM season (35 out of 67 newly nominated supervisory directors). All AEX companies now meet the forthcoming statutory quota of at least one-third female supervisory directors, with the exception of ABN AMRO Bank.

- Twelve listed companies have now set a deadline for becoming a ‘carbon neutral’ company. Philips and Signify have set this ambition by year-end 2020, while Royal Dutch Shell, DSM, AkzoNobel, Boskalis and Vopak strive for becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Eumedion shares its view on the renewed European sustainable finance strategy

Eumedion shares its view on the renewed European sustainable finance strategyNews · 15-07-2020

In its response to the European Commission’s Consultation on the renewed sustainable finance strategy, Eumedion today shared its view on the main challenges and opportunities involved in promoting a sustainable financial sector. Four main themes have guided the Eumedion response:

Further and continuing development of the sustainable finance strategy is warranted

Eumedion acknowledges the important and continuing role of the financial sector in realising the transition to a sustainable future. We therefore fully support the European Commission in its important task to further develop and refine the EU’s approach to promote sustainable financial markets. In our view, an important (if not, the) overarching challenge revolves around the availability of consistent, comparable and reliable company level data.

General policy action is the most direct instrument for sustainable development

Orderly, predictable and well-communicated sustainability objectives that are aimed at the real economy form the most direct policy instrument for a speedy transition to a sustainable economy and society. These objectives should not be limited to climate-related issues. Eumedion has always been of the opinion that sustainability factors should not be considered (and addressed) individually, but always in conjunction. For example, many ecological issues have a social dimension, and good governance is a pre-condition for a company to meaningfully address its ecological and social challenges and opportunities. A too one-sided focus on enforcing environmental goals, also through financial regulation, seriously risks negatively affecting many other urgent sustainability issues.

Harmonisation of financial sector regulation, but preferably not a rule-based approach

Following orderly and predictable general policy action, the financial sector requires harmonisation of the financial sector regulation with these real economy objectives, most notably in terms of standardised and uniform data and non-financial information. Equally important is the full alignment within the financial sector regulation itself, such as between the various disclosure and reporting requirements. Next, since general policy action and according financial sector regulation will in turn be reflected in the investment strategies and risk management of financial institutions, we encourage the European Commission to not follow a rule-based approach for promoting a sustainable financial sector, but most of all to enable the financial sector to fully integrate the material factors of a real world transition into their financial duties in an economically viable way.

Avoid stacking of additional requirements and allow for temporisation

The various initiatives already launched or in the process of implementation will require an extraordinary effort of financial market participants for the years ahead in order to be implemented effectively and efficiently. This means that any further requirements should be prudently temporised, as to allow the various initiatives to prove effective after implementation and for policy actions to align.

Eumedion calls on the IFRS Foundation to expand its mission to set global standards for non-financial reporting

Eumedion calls on the IFRS Foundation to expand its mission to set global standards for non-financial reportingNews · 06-07-2020

The position paper ‘Towards a global, investor focused standard setter for corporate non-financial reporting’ that Eumedion published today, calls on the IFRS Foundation (‘Foundation’) to expand its mission. The Foundation should establish a separate standard setting board for non-financial reporting, next to the existing International Accounting Standards Board for financial reporting. The Position Paper concludes an extensive consultation following the publication of Eumedion’s Green Paper ‘Towards a global standard setter for non-financial reporting’ published on 30 October 2019 (‘Green Paper’).

The Green Paper provided a sound starting point for a broad discussion with stakeholders. Nine respondents provided us with written feedback. The subsequent evaluation of all the input received, also provided a firm basis for the other stances in the position paper. Most notably that investors struggle to assess how a company creates long-term value and how a company lives up to the valid needs of society where non-financial performance matters; that enforceable and consistent international standards are needed to ensure that non-financial reporting is faithfully represented; and that the auditor should provide more assurance on the management report: reasonable assurance on certain non-financial key performance indicators, and limited assurance on the entire management report. Eumedion publised a feedback statement on 24 July.

The position paper further acknowledges the EU’s strong commitment to a sustainable future. Eumedion would welcome a leadership role of the EU that clearly recognises the global nature of the challenges faced; the need for, ultimately, global reporting standards; and the necessity of a governance structure of the standard setter that fosters international buy-in from jurisdictions whose commitment to a sustainable future is similar to the EU’s.

In the above light, Eumedion is pleased that the EC Commissioner Mr. Dombrovskis recently reiterated his stance that ‘… non-financial reporting standards would be open, transparent and inclusive, as we want to avoid fragmentation of global capital markets’. Eumedion remains confident that the IFRS Foundation involvement herein will remain part of the discussion on how to realise this vision.

We are also pleased to learn from the minutes of the IFRS Foundation Trustees & Due Process Oversight Committee as published last Friday, that the Trustees decided, as part of a strategic review, that a consultation paper will be published following ‘the increasing demand for global standards that provide comparable, decision-useful and auditable information to investors and other interested stakeholders’.

Eumedion calls for European supervision on financial reporting and audit firms

Eumedion calls for European supervision on financial reporting and audit firmsNews · 30-06-2020

The Wirecard accounting scandal underlines the need to introduce European supervision on the financial reporting of European listed companies and on audit firms. Listed companies and audit firms apply international standards. At least European enforcement is necessary to create consistency in how these international standards are applied by European listed companies and audit firms. Eumedion has incorporated this call in its response, submitted today, to the final report of the High-Level Forum on the Capital Market Union. Three weeks ago, this High-Level Forum submitted its final recommendations on finalising the creation of a European Capital Markets Union to the European Commission. The European Commission will present a concrete action plan later this year.

In the final report, Eumedion lacks the recommendation for the creation of a single European supervisor on financial reporting and audit firms. Eumedion believes that this European single supervisor is a crucial part of completing the European Capital Market Union. The response further shows that Eumedion supports most of the clusters of recommendations from the High-Level Forum. However, Eumedion is concerned about some proposals on improving the public markets ecosystem. According to the High-Level Forum, newly listed companies should have a choice to opt for dual-class shares with variable voting rights. The Forum also recommends to alleviate the Market Abuse Regulation. Eumedion opines that these recommendations would severely damage investor protection and therefore investors’ trust in European stock markets.

Eumedion: annual reports should contain more relevant sustainability information

Eumedion: annual reports should contain more relevant sustainability informationNews · 04-06-2020

A revised European Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) should require corporate annual reports to include a materiality assessment. Such assessment could be prepared in accordance with the existing dislosure standard of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for identifying material topics. 

Eumedion writes this in its today's submitted response to the European Commission's consultation on the revision of the NRFD. Eumedion’s response further expresses support for the existing materiality lens of the European Accounting Directive as this takes the perspective of investors. The importance of a high quality management report for investors is also highlighted. Eumedion expresses concerns that the creation of separate reports, outside the statutory annual report, does negatively affect investors’ ability to find and take the information therein properly into account.

Eumedion addresses several issues with the European climate benchmarks and ESG disclosure requirements

Eumedion addresses several issues with the European climate benchmarks and ESG disclosure requirementsNews · 06-05-2020

In its responses, published today, to the three draft delegated regulations regarding the European climate benchmarks and ESGdisclosure requirements for benchmarks, Eumedion points out several considerable issues.

Although Eumedion supports the overall objectives of the draft delegated regulations, Eumedion for example urges the European Commission to use the market value of equity for financial institutions in the context of measuring GHG intensity, since for financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, lenders) the concept of Enterprise Value is widely recognised as not resulting in meaningful outcomes. Also, Eumedion is of the opinion that the inclusion of ESG-related exclusion criteria (such as tobacco) frustrates the ambition of creating credible climate transition benchmarks and ultimately threatens the credibility of EU climate benchmarks as thought-through instruments for transition.

Eumedion also points out that harmonisation between various EU ESG-disclosure requirements is absolutely crucial to the success of the sustainable finance strategy of the EU. The current misalignment of various (future) disclosure requirements within the Benchmark Regulation (BMR), Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) will not only lead to extra costs for financial market participants and their ultimate beneficiaries due to the purchase of additional data, but will also negatively contribute to consistent and uniform disclosure on sustainability factors throughout the financial sector and in the real economy.

Finally, Eumedion would welcome mandatory ESG-disclosure for all ESG-relevant benchmarks, since this provides clarity to investors taking ESG-factors into account in their investment processes.The current proposals allow benchmark administrators to withhold ESG-disclosures, which will potentially lead to various undesired side effects.

The full response to the three draft delegated regulations can be found here.

Support for Eumedion's call to standardise non-financial reporting

Support for Eumedion's call to standardise non-financial reportingNews · 30-03-2020

There is broad support from various stakeholders for Eumedion's call to standardise the non-financial information published by listed companies. This is one of the main conclusions of the roundtable on the future of non-financial reporting that Eumedion organised on 9 March in collaboration with Accountancy Europe. Both organisations published discussion documents on this subject in 2019. Investors, enforcers, policy makers, standard setters, auditors and academics participated in the round table discussion. The discussion showed that stakeholders still disagree about which entity should take care of the desired standardisation. Some participants supported the idea of Eumedion and Accountancy Europe to designate the IFRS Foundation for this task. Others believed that such a process will take (too) long and supported a more pragmatic solution in the meantime. In that "interim period", listed companies should be called upon to adopt the existing, most widely used non-financial reporting frameworks of the SASB, GRI, TCFD and IIRC. The European Commission can play an important stimulating role in achieving a global reporting framework. What the ultimately harmonised non-financial reporting framework will look like will partly depend on the choice of the primary target audience for such reporting and the associated materiality level. Stakeholders disagreed whether listed companies should only include in their statutory reports non-financial information that is "financial material" or whether a "multi-stakeholder lens" should be used. In that case, companies will also have to report on matters that are important from a social point of view, without the condition that this information should be financial material for the company. Eumedion and Accountancy Europe will take the findings and conclusions into account when determining their final position on which organisation(s) should ultimately take care of the worldwide standardisation of non-financial reporting.

Eumedion: IIRC should eventually be merged into a global standard setter for non-financial reporting

Eumedion:  IIRC should eventually be merged into a global standard setter for non-financial reportingNews · 20-03-2020

Eumedion calls on the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) to support the creation of a global standard setter for non-financial information. Eumedion writes this in its response to the IIRC’s call for feedback on the revision of the Integrated Reporting (IR) framework, scheduled for later this year. Eumedion supports the IIRC’s conclusion on shortcomings and improvements with regard to the application of the IR framework by listed companies. However, Eumedion fails to believe that the root cause of unbalanced reporting is any deficiency in the Framework itself. Rather, Eumedion sees the need to harmonise international non-financial reporting standards. Eumedion therefore asks the IIRC to put its strategic focus on integrating its intellectual capital into a single global authoritative standard setter, in line with Eumedion’s recent green paper on this issue. In its response Eumedion also strongly opposes the suggestion of broadening the ‘primary audience’ from providers of financial capital to all stakeholders of a listed company. However, Eumedion does see merit in further clarification of certain aspects of the IR framework, such as the identification of outputs and outcomes. The IIRC has scheduled to publish a consultation draft of the revised Framework in May.

Round Table 'Towards a Global Non-Financial Reporting Standard Setter'

Round Table 'Towards a Global Non-Financial Reporting Standard Setter'Agenda · 09-03-2020

We are pleased to co-organise with Accountancy Europe a round table on a global standard setter for non-financial reporting. This round table follows the publication of Eumedion’s Green paper and Accountancy Europe’s Cogito paper that contain concrete proposals. 

A broad range of stakeholders are invited to have a moderated discussion by Kris Douma (ex UN PRI). Representatives of most stakeholders of corporate reporting will be present including listed entities, investors, auditors, standard setters, policy makers and enforcers. You will have a chance to adding your perspective to this multifaceted topic during the discussion.

This event is by invitation only.

Eumedion strongly supports a revision of the European Non-Financial Reporting Directive

Eumedion strongly supports a revision of the European Non-Financial Reporting DirectiveNews · 27-02-2020

The European Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) should be converted into a European Regulation. This Regulation should lay the foundation of the application and endorsement of international non-financial reporting standards within the European Union. Eumedion writes this in its response to the European Commission's consultation on the possible options to revise the NRFD. In its response Eumedion strongly supports a revision of the NFRD, and fully agrees with the analysis that underpins this initiative. Updated provisions for non-financial information in Europe are urgently needed. Additionally, Eumedion stresses the need for global non-financial reporting standards. The issues to which non-financial reporting delivers an important contribution, are in fact global. Therefore, while non-financial information reporting provisions can be put in place regionally, the accompanying non-financial reporting standards need to be set globally. Eumedion is in favour of creating an independent, authoritative standard setter, which sets non-financial reporting standards on all material aspects of non-financial reporting for listed and large private entities across the globe. A European initiative should explicitly steer away from creating even more divergence between reporting practices in the various global markets.