Harmonization of Non-financial Reporting Regulation in Europe: A Study of the Transposition of the Directive 2014/95/EU

  • Silvia TestarmataEmail author
  • Mirella Ciaburri
  • Fabio Fortuna
  • Silvia Sergiacomi
Part of the Accounting, Finance, Sustainability, Governance & Fraud: Theory and Application book series (AFSGFTA)


This chapter deals with the new European Union Directive 2014/95 on non-financial and diversity information (NFI Directive). The aim of the study is to explore the transposition of the NFI Directive in the leading European countries to understand what and how non-financial information is reported and verify whether the flexibility given to Member States in the implementation of the NFI Directive has implied that individual national interests prevail on achieving the success of NFI disclosure harmonisation. The research method is a multiple case study on the transposition of the NFI Directive in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. The comparison of the transposition laws indicates significant differences shape company obligations at the country level; however it appears that the harmonisation of non-financial reporting regulation in Europe has generally enhanced the consistency, transparency and comparability of NFI disclosed by companies and has improved corporate accountability to a large extent.


Corporate social responsibility Corporate reporting Directive 2014/95/EU Mandatory disclosure Non-financial information Regulation 


  1. Abeydeera S, Tregidga H, Kearins K (2016) Sustainability reporting – more global than local? Meditari Account Res 24:478–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Albareda L, Lozano JM, Ysa T (2007) Public policies on corporate social responsibility: the role of governments in Europe. J Bus Ethics 74:391–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alchian AA, Demsetz H (1972) Production, information costs, and economic organization. Am Econ Rev 62:777–795Google Scholar
  4. An Y, Davey H, Eggleton IRC (2011) Towards a comprehensive theoretical framework for voluntary IC disclosure. J Intellect Cap 12:571–585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Archel P, Husillos J, Larrinaga C, Spence C (2009) Social disclosure, legitimacy theory and the role of the state. Account Audit Account J 22:1284–1307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Aureli S, Magnaghi E, Salvatori F (2018) The transposition of the non-financial reporting directive in the UK, France and Italy. Symphonya Emerg Issues Manag 1:48–67Google Scholar
  7. Baker CR (2014) A comparative analysis of the development of the auditing profession in the United Kingdom and France. Account Hist 19:97–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bebbington J, Kirk EA, Larrinaga C (2012) The production of normativity: a comparison of reporting regimes in Spain and the UK. Acc Org Soc 37:78–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carini C, Rocca L, Veneziani M, Teodori C (2018) Ex-ante impact assessment of sustainability information – the directive 2014/95. Sustainability 10:1–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cho CH, Freedman M, Patten DM (2012) Corporate disclosure of environmental capital expenditures. Account Audit Account J 25:486–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crawford EP, Williams CC (2010) Should corporate social reporting be voluntary or mandatory? Evidence from the banking sector in France and the United States. Corp Gov: Int J Bus Soc 10:512–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. CSR Europe and GRI (2017) Member state implementation of directive 2014/95/EUGoogle Scholar
  13. De Villiers C, Alexander D (2014) The institutionalisation of corporate social responsibility reporting. Br Account Rev 46:198–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deegan C (2002) Introduction: the legitimising effect of social and environmental disclosures – a theoretical foundation. Account Audit Account J 15:282–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dumay J (2016) A critical reflection on the future of intellectual capital: from reporting to disclosure. J Intellect Cap 17:168–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dumay J, Frost G, Beck C (2015) Material legitimacy: blending organisational and stakeholder concerns through non-financial information disclosures. J Account Organ Change 11:2–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dutot V, Lacalle Galvez E, Versailles DW (2016) CSR communications strategies through social media and influence on e-reputation: an exploratory study. Manag Decis 54:363–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. EC (2001) Recommendation 2001/453/EC on recognition, measurement and disclosure of environmental issues in the annual accounts and annual reports of EU companies. European Commission, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  19. EC (2011) A renewed EU strategy 2011–14 for corporate social responsibility, COM(2011) 681 final. European Commission, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  20. EC (2013) Commission staff working document impact assessment accompanying the document proposal for a directive of the European parliament and of the council amending council directives 78/660/EEC and 83/349/EEC as regards disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large companies and groups, SWD(2013) 127 final. European Commission, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  21. EU (2013) Directive 2013/34/EU of the European parliament and of the council of 26 June 2013 on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings, amending directive 2006/43/EC of the European parliament and of the council and repealing council directives 78/660/EEC and 83/349/EEC. Off J Eur Union L 182: 19–76Google Scholar
  22. EU (2014) Directive 2014/95/EU of the European parliament and of the council of 22 October 2014 amending directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings and groups. Off J Eur Union L 330/2:1–9Google Scholar
  23. Fama E, Jensen M (1983) Agency problems and residual claims. J Law Econ 26:301–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Freeman RE, Harrison JS, Wicks AC, Parmar BL, De Colle S (2010) Stakeholder theory. The state of the art. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Haller A, Link M, Groß T (2017) The term ‘non-financial information’ – a semantic analysis of a key feature of current and future corporate reporting. Account Eur 14:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Healy PM, Palepu KG (2001) Information asymmetry, corporate disclosure, and the capital markets: a review of the empirical disclosure literature. J Account Econ 31:405–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hibbitt C, Collison D (2004) Corporate environmental disclosure and reporting developments in Europe. Soc Environ Account J 24:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hummel K, Schlick C (2016) The relationship between sustainability performance and sustainability disclosure – reconciling voluntary disclosure theory and legitimacy theory. J Account Public Policy 35:455–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ioannou I, Serafeim G (2017) The consequences of mandatory corporate sustainability reporting. Harvard Business School research working paper no. 11–100. Available at: or
  30. Jackson G, Bartosch J, Kinderman, DP, Knudsen Jette S, Avetisyan E (2017) Regulating self-regulation? The politics and effects of mandatory CSR disclosure in comparison. Available at SSRN
  31. Jeffery C (2017) Comparing the implementation of the EU non-financial reporting directive. SSRN Electron J. Available at
  32. King A, Bartels, W (2015) Currents of change: the KPMG survey of corporate responsibility reporting 2015. Available at
  33. KPMG (2017) The KPMG survey of corporate responsibility reporting. Available at:
  34. La Torre M, Sabelfeld S, Blomkvist M, Tarquinio L, Dumay J (2018) Harmonising non-financial reporting regulation in Europe: practical forces and projections for future research. Meditari Account Res 26:598–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Martínez JB, Fernández ML, Fernández PMR (2016) Corporate social responsibility: evolution through institutional and stakeholder perspectives. Eur J Manag Bus Econ 25:8–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Matten D, Moon J (2008) “Implicit” and “explicit” CSR: a conceptual framework for a comparative understanding of corporate social responsibility. Acad Manag Rev 33:404 424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Matuszak L, Rózanska E (2017) CSR disclosure in polish-listed companies in the light of directive 2014/95/EU requirements: empirical evidence. Sustainability 3:1–18Google Scholar
  38. Mio C, Venturelli A (2013) Non-financial information about sustainable development and environmental policy in the annual reports of listed companies: evidence from Italy and the UK. Corp Soc Respon Environ Manag 20:340–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. O’Donovan G (2002) Environmental disclosures in the annual report. Account Audit Account J 15:344–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pistoni A, Songini L, Perrone O (2016) The how and why of a firm’s approach to CSR and sustainability: a case study of a large European company. J Manag Gov 20:655–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Quinn J, Connolly B (2017) The non-financial information directive: an assessment of its impact on corporate social responsibility. Eur Comp Law J 14:15–21Google Scholar
  42. Saravanamuthu K (2004) What is measured counts: harmonized corporate reporting and sustainable economic development. Crit Perspect Account 15:295–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sierra-Garcia L, Garcia-Benau MA, Bollas-Araya HB (2018) Empirical analysis of non-financial reporting by Spanish companies. Adm Sci 8:1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stubbs W, Higgins C (2015) Stakeholders’ perspectives on the role of regulatory reform in integrated reporting. J Bus Ethics 147:1–20Google Scholar
  45. Thorell P, Whittington G (1994) The harmonization of accounting within the EU-problems, perspectives and strategies. Eur Account Rev 3:215–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Venturelli A, Caputo F, Cosma R, Leopizzi R, Pizzi P (2017) Directive 2014/95/EU: are Italian companies already compliant? Sustainability 9:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wagner CZ (2018) Evolving norms of corporate social responsibility: lessons from the European Union experience with non-financial reporting. Tenn J Bus Law 19:619–708Google Scholar
  48. Wang KT, Li D (2016) Market reactions to the first-time disclosure of corporate social responsibility reports: evidence from China. J Bus Ethics 138:661–682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Yin RK (2015) Case study research: design and methods, 5th edn. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvia Testarmata
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mirella Ciaburri
    • 1
  • Fabio Fortuna
    • 1
  • Silvia Sergiacomi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsNiccolò Cusano University of RomeRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations