Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2011 (Revised February 2013)

Mandatory Environmental, Social, and Governance Disclosure in the European Union

by Robert G. Eccles, George Serafeim and Phillip Andrews

Abstract

In 2011, the European Commission was deciding on how to best modify the existing European Union policy on corporate disclosure of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information. Previous directives had recommended that European companies report ESG information, but now the EC was deciding if organizations should be required to disclose nonfinancial information. The EC had to determine what types of organizations would be required to disclose, which international framework would serve as a standard reporting guideline, and if ESG disclosure would be integrated with financial material in one annual report. This case outlines the history and trends of corporate social responsibility reporting to encourage a discussion around the decision points and implications of reporting regulations.

Keywords: Integrated Corporate Reporting; Corporate Strategy; Corporate Disclosure; Environmental Accounting; Competitive Strategy; International Accounting; Financial Reporting; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Debates; Europe;

Citation:

Eccles, Robert G., George Serafeim, and Phillip Andrews. "Mandatory Environmental, Social, and Governance Disclosure in the European Union." Harvard Business School Case 111-120, June 2011. (Revised February 2013.)