EEAC Chairman: companies are key actors for achieving the SDGs and the objectives of the Paris Agreement!

Today (17/6/2021), The Belgium and German Advisory Council for Sustainable Development – together with the EEAC Network – organized a webinar on  corporate sustainability reporting. During his opening address EEAC Network Chairman, Arnau Queralt Bassa, said that he considers companies to be key actors for achieving the SDGs and the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change. However, I said, several reforms are needed if those companies are to contribute effectively to the goals!

He underlined the importance of a legal obligation for most companies to report on their possible or existing adverse impacts on sustainability. It was therefore, according to Arnau Queralt Bassa, no surprise that he welcomed the Commission’s initiative to come forward with stronger transparency requirements on companies regarding their impacts in terms of human rights violations, environmental pollution and climate change, in addition to employees and customers interests and alongside the financial interests of their shareholders.

According to the EEAC Chairman the proposed Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive would provide marked actors with a level playing field and legal clarity on the EU internal market, and would provide reliable and comparable sustainability information needed by investors and other stakeholders. Furthermore, Queralt Bassa continued,  companies that consider environmental and social aspects, while being in touch with their stakeholders regarding these matters, will be better able to identify economic risks arising from sustainability issues, and therefore will also be able to manage those risks more effectively.

Arnau Queralt Bassa also acknowledged that some business representatives fear that the reporting costs will become  too high. These concerns should not just be dismissed for the sake of pushing sustainability, he added. In his conclusion the EEAC Chairman raised the question  whether the current and proposed corporate sustainability reporting initiatives by the EU will be able to provide improved information on the exposure of companies to sustainability risks and impacts, without putting too much burden on the motors of our European economy….