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Non-financial, environmental reporting gains momentum

Steven Maijoor, chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has said that European authorities and investors will prioritise non-financial and environmental disclosures in annual statements, as well as IFRS 9 and IFRS 15. He said: “Non-financial reporting, most notably on environmental matters, is gaining momentum in Europe, as part of a broader EU initiative to achieve a more sustainable financial system. To serve this purpose investors and the public need high-quality disclosures.”

On Friday, ESMA announced a list of 2018 reporting priorities for European authorities, including a greater emphasis on IFRS 9 and IFRS 15, non-financial disclosures and a focus on environmental matters in the annual statements of listed companies. According to ESMA, these priorities reflect the changes introduced by new reporting standards.

The enforcement priorities for IFRS financial statements in 2018 are:

  • Specific issues relating to the application of IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers and IFRS 9 Financial Instruments: Issuers should in particular focus on identification and satisfaction of performance obligations, disaggregation of revenue and the disclosure of significant judgements related to recognition of revenue. For credit institutions, ESMA highlights the application of the new expected credit loss model (ECL) and, in particular, careful consideration and disclosure of significant inputs used in the assessment of a significant increase of credit risk and in the determination of ECL;
  • Disclosure of the expected impact of the implementation of IFRS 16 Leases: The publication of financial statements will happen after the entry into effect of IFRS 16 and all issuers should be in a position to disclose the expected impact. Issuers that will be significantly impacted are also encouraged to consider what information would enable analysts and other users to update their models.
  • In addition to these common enforcement priorities, ESMA highlights specific requirements relating to the sections of the annual financial report other than the financial statements (such as management reports and non-financial statements). These include specific requirements on:
    • the disclosures of non-financial information, and notably those related to environmental and climate change-related matters; and
    • the application of the ESMA Guidelines on Alternative Performance Measures (APMs).
  • Finally, ESMA highlights the importance of disclosures analysing the possible impacts of the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

Maijoor commented: “This year’s enforcement priorities focus on the new standards that are applied for the first time in annual financial statements: IFRS 15 and IFRS 9. These standards have introduced significant changes for the financial statements of many issuers, and ESMA expects them to provide sufficient level of transparency on the application of the new standards. In particular, issuers should focus on the application and recognised impact of the new accounting models for revenue recognition and for impairment of financial assets.”

CTMfile take: These reporting priorities reflect some of the risks that companies – and therefore investors – are facing, including risk of financial impact from climate change, impact from Brexit and from credit risk.  

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This item appears in the following sections:
Environment, Social, Governance
Corporate Governance
Sustainable Trade / Risk Management
Control & Compliance in Operations
Operational Risk Management

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