Benjamin-Nicolau 's

Environm Ciencia, Tecnologia y Economia

Archive for 17/04/14

Corporate compliance: Disclosure of non-financial information by certain large companies.

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en abril 17, 2014

Corporate compliance: Disclosure of non-financial information by certain large companies.

European Parliament and Council reach agreement on Commission proposal to improve transparency.

The European Parliament and the Council have reached agreement on an amendment to existing accounting legislation to improve the transparency of certain large companies on social, environmental and diversity matters. This agreement was endorsed today by Coreper. Companies concerned will need to disclose information on policies, risks and results as regards environmental matters, social and employee-related aspects, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery issues, and diversity on boards of directors.

“Europe needs modern and useful rules on transparency of non-financial information by certain large companies. I am glad to see that the European Parliament and the Council agree and support the Commission as regards the objective of this proposal”, said Michel Barnier, Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services. “I want to thank the Members of the European Parliament, particularly its rapporteur, Raffaele Baldassarre, and the shadow-rapporteurs, as well as the Greek and Lithuanian Presidencies for their support. Companies, investors and society at large will benefit from increased transparency. This is important for Europe’s competitiveness and the creation of more jobs. The new rules will only apply to some large companies with more than 500 employees, as the costs for requiring small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to apply them could outweigh the benefits. While I am happy that the Commission has to report back on country-by-country reporting on tax matters by 2018, I am sorry that the spirit of the European Council conclusions will not be taken forward as quickly as I had hoped. I hope that the next Commission might see its way to accelerating this issue.”

Large public-interest entities (mainly listed companies and financial institutions) with more than 500 employees will be required to disclose relevant and useful environmental and social information in their management reports. This includes listed companies as well as some unlisted companies, such as banks, insurance companies, and other companies that are so designated by Member States because of their activities, size or number of employees. The scope includes approx. 6 000 large companies and groups across the EU. The approach taken ensures that administrative burden is kept to a minimum. Companies will be required to disclose concise, useful information necessary for an understanding of their development, performance, position and impact of their activity, rather than a fully-fledged and detailed report. Furthermore, disclosures may be provided at group level, rather than by each individual affiliate within a group.
The draft Directive has been designed with a non-prescriptive mind-set, and leaves significant flexibility for companies to disclose relevant information in the way that they consider most useful, or in a separate report. Companies may use international, European or national guidelines which they consider appropriate (for instance, the UN Global Compact, ISO 26000, or the German Sustainability Code).

The draft Directive provides for further work by the Commission to develop guidelines in order to facilitate the disclosure of non-financial information by companies, taking into account current best practice, international developments and related EU initiatives.

As regards diversity on company boards, large listed companies will be required to provide information on their diversity policy, such as, for instance: age, gender, educational and professional background. Disclosures will set out the objectives of the policy, how it has been implemented, and the results. Companies which do not have a diversity policy will have to explain why not.

This approach is in line with the general EU corporate governance framework.
This draft Directive represents a first step towards the implementation of the European Council conclusions of 22 May 2013 on the need for further transparency on tax matters and for ensuring country-by-country reporting by large companies and groups. The Commission supports this objective and will endeavour to deliver effectively on the review clause included in this legislation.

In order to become law, the Commission’s proposal needs to be adopted jointly by the European Parliament and by the EU Member States in the Council (which votes by qualified majority). It is expected that the European Parliament will vote this legislation in plenary in April, while the Council will formally adopt it subsequently. ty of their business.

Posted in economics | Etiquetado: , | Leave a Comment »

Commission welcomes European Parliament support for a safer, healthier, high-tech and more Connected Continent.

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en abril 17, 2014

Commission welcomes European Parliament support for a safer, healthier, high-tech and more Connected Continent.

The Directive tackles four main problem areas:

•. No Expensive duplication of infrastructure by opening access to all technically suitable infrastructure belonging to utilities or telecom operators, such as ducts, conduits, manholes, cabinets, poles, masts, antennae installations, towers and other supporting constructions, to operators who invest to provide high-speed broadband to the public.

From now on, telecom operators will have to build less new poles and ducts before bringing their fibre to remote areas and less new towers for their antennas. They will be able to reuse infrastructure of the utilities, or of other operators at a fair price. This means cheaper and faster deployment.
What national best practice inspired the Directive? In Lithuania, such measures made many NGA deployments economically viable, leading to some of the highest NGA coverage in Europe. Even citizens living in remote, rural areas will have next generation networks reaching them easier, sooner, ensuring access to a wide range of smart services.

•. Better coordination of civil works by cutting all barriers to coordination of civil works and setting minimum obligations for efficient work planning.

No more digging up the road every few months. Telecom companies will know in advance the planning of the civil works and will be able to join in, share the cost and deploy their network. This means less hassle for citizens, through less public works, in short Less digging – more broadband.
What national best practice inspired the Directive? In Malta the National Roads Authority informs all the utility companies about trenching works planned by other utility companies intending to install underground infrastructure in order to allow coordination between themselves. When works are carried out on the strategic road network, coordination is even more extensive so as to minimise their financial impact and traffic disruption.

•. Easier and faster procedures by imposing transparency of permit granting procedures, which must be completed within 4 months, unless national law provides otherwise. Any rejection of the permit will have to be justified objectively.

What national best practice inspired the Directive? Legislation in the Netherlands has made deployment more straightforward and has reduced administrative burdens. This is likely to be a strong contributory factor to the enhanced coverage seen in the Netherlands today.

• Upgrading old and inaccessible in-building infrastructure by mandating the equipment of new buildings & major renovations with high-speed infrastructure and organising access to it.
What national best practice inspired the Directive? In Portugal, all new buildings as well as renovated buildings must incorporate fibre. In Spain constructors of new and renovated multi-dwelling buildings must connect each apartment to a central point. This allows easier access to an NGA network.
This new legislation will help delivering EU goals: by 2020, all European citizens and businesses should have access to the Internet at a speed of at least 30 Mbps and at least 50% of European households should subscribe to Internet connections above 100 Mbps.

The Commission made a legislative proposal in March 2013 after the call of the Heads of State and Government of the 27 EU member states to: “complete the Digital Single Market by 2015 … including by reducing the cost of high-speed broadband infrastructure”.

Research to help Europe’s ageing population demographic change. MEPs showed support for the €175 million Active and Assisted Living (AAL) programme (2014 – 2020) which will address the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population through new ICT-based products and services. Research will be focus around 6 themes: medication adherence, fall prevention, frailty and malnutrition, integrated care, independent living and age-friendly environments.
European Commission Vice-President @NeelieKroes said: “The new AAL Programme will be closer to the market and will ensure that the results respond to actual user needs. It will have SME partners and greater user-involvement in each phase of each project. ALL will help having real products for the real needs.”
European leadership in Electronic Components and Systems

The EP also voted on a new a public-private partnership ECSEL (Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership). ECSEL will lead to a Europe-wide research and development programme in the fields of nanoelectronics, smart and embedded systems with an incentive for industry, Member States and the European Union. It is to provide a major opportunity to cooperate across Europe and leverage investments in this field. The EU contribution to the ECSEL JU will be of €1,185 billion.

European Commission Vice-President @NeelieKroes said: “ECSEL Joint Undertaking is to provide a major opportunity to cooperate across Europe and leverage investments in the field. I welcome the strong emphasis on creating a Europe-wide research and innovation programme with an incentive for industry, Member States and the European Union.”

Posted in Technology | Etiquetado: , , | Leave a Comment »