The most important source of non-financial information on companies is found in their sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports, which investors would like to see more strongly allied with financial information, according to responses to a new survey from Eurosif and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
The survey was put together by Eurosif and ACCA following an April 16 proposal from the European Commission on non-financial disclosure requirements for all large companies.
It found that 91% of respondents said corporate CSR reports were ‘high’ or ‘essential’ priority for non-financial information, alongside annual reports (85%).
And 92% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that non-financial information should be better integrated with financial information.
These sources, the survey found, are more important to investors than information provided by ESG ratings agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), quarterly company reports or regulatory information. The survey was carried out between November 2012 and April 2013 and the results are based on 90 responses.
In addition, respondents felt that for non-financial information to be useful to investors it must be sufficiently comparable across companies: 93% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that currentnon-financial reporting is sufficiently comparable.
While qualitative policy statements are seen as important, quantitative key performance indicators (KPIs) are viewed as essential (97% agreed or strongly agreed).
The study is due to be presented at a high-level event today (June 4) on non-financial reporting at the European Parliament co-hosted by MEPs Richard Howitt and Raffaele Baldassarre and jointly organised by Aviva Investors, ACCA and Eurosif. The topic of the event in Brussels is: “ ”Non-financial information disclosure:
towards a more sustainable and comparable corporate reporting regime?”
Eurosif Executive Director Francois Passant, said: “Looking at the non-financial aspects of an investee company is becoming the new normal for investors as shown by our survey. In a world where 80% of a company’s value is derived from its intangibles, where value chains are more global, complex and lean, and where more and more investors are looking into how companies adapt to climate change, non-financial transparency cannot be seen as a burden or a tick-box exercise anymore but is a necessity.”