Focus is also on people with disabilities

IF – 11/2022

In future, companies should report on how they intend to include people with disabilities in internal and external activities. A new guideline on corporate sustainability reporting is to define how companies must report their non-financial activities. While the directive does not directly force companies to change their approach to inclusion, it does require them to report on the actions they have taken in this area.

Employees with disabilities in companies

The Directive contains clarifications on how the reports on inclusion and accessibility are to be designed. For example, the directive states early on that "reporting standards should also specify the information and how companies should deal with it in relation to the fundamental freedoms and standards set out in the International Bill of Human Rights, the UN Convention on Human Rights, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities".

Inclusion in companies

The new directive also regulates how exactly inclusion in companies is to be reported. Persons involved in the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the company should report regularly on the accessibility measures taken. Evidence of equal treatment, including gender equality and equal pay for work of equal value, training and skills development, and measures against violence and harassment shall be disclosed. In addition, diversity policies in companies should apply and take into account gender and other aspects such as age, educational and professional background or disability when appointing members to administrative, management and supervisory bodies.

European Parliament satisfied

The leading Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) and the Committees on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) and Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) were in favour of reporting obligations to show which employers implement the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their workplaces. Members of Parliament stressed that social problems could be avoided and that promoting transparency in the financial and economic activities of companies would only benefit workers.

As early as 14 July, the JURI Committee approved the text agreed in the first reading during the inter-institutional negotiations. The Members of Parliament now adopted the final text of the new directive on sustainability reporting by companies on 10 November in the plenary session in Strasbourg .

Now the Council also gave its final approval to the directive on November 28. This means that companies will soon be required to publish detailed information on sustainability issues. This directive also helps investors and other stakeholders make informed decisions on sustainability issues. This will increase a company's accountability, prevent divergent sustainability standards and facilitate the transition to a sustainable economy.