Social Sciences, Accounting; sustainability reporting; non-financial information; corporate social responsibility; accounting regulation; directive 2014/95; oil & gas
The Directive 2014/95, in force in 2017, is the first European step that requires mandatory non-financial information to undertakings (all “public interest entities” with more than 500 employees). The regulation is concerning sustainability information as environmental, social and employee, human rights and anti-corruption and bribery matters and disclosure of diversity policy for board members. The study, in the strand of the regulation of accounting, part of the broader field of research into accounting regulation, contributes to the debate on the quality of regulation, in this specific case referred to sustainability disclosure. The regulation of sustainability matters is studied in literature broadly in a post-implementation phase and at national level. This research, instead, aims to analyse, through the causal chain of regulatory policy, in the ex-ante stage, the quality of the regulation and, at least, the usefulness of the normative pressure. The Oil & Gas sector is chosen as sample of the study, because it is one of the most advanced sectors in sustainability disclosure. The examination of the law, in terms of content requirements (what) and location of information (where), is the basis to apply the disclosure-scoring system, a partial form of content analysis, to the reports of the sample. The findings reveal a good level of completeness of non-financial information, however, there are some areas that have to be improved to reach the requests of the Directive. Results show also the presence of overlap between financial reports and sustainability ones. In conclusion, the regulation is useful to prompt undertakings to reflect on their reporting and so doing improve their sustainability approach.