The Common Good Balance Sheet is an instrument which promotes a value-driven, ethical economy. Its impact and significance go beyond legal requirements in order to ensure the highest possible standards in the future.
From the exploitation of the Earth's natural resources through to climate change, and the ever-increasing gulf between rich and poor, ecological and social awareness is on the rise, as is the recognition that if we do not change our ways, the future of our planet and human civilisation are at stake.
More and more consumers are looking for fairer and more sustainable products and services. Legal requirements are also being implemented: In accordance with its initiative on corporate social responsibility (CSR), the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive (2014/95/EU) became mandatory for all large-scale organisations in 2017.
To some extent, the Common Good Balance Sheet has already taken CSR to a new level. This is partly because it has been so comprehensively designed, but also because it is the only assessment tool that allows users to evaluate CSR. Given that the Common Good Balance Sheet is already meeting tomorrow's requirements today, it sets an example for the future. By identifying the advantages this creates for society as a whole, ECG pioneers have become the driving force for socio-political developments and future economic policy.
In accordance with the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive (2014/95/EU), large scale companies are required to disclose non-financial information as of 2017. The objective of this directive is to increase the transparency of an organisation's business activities, and the impact they have, especially with regard to environmental, social and employee-related matters. It is hoped that the benefits of non-financial reporting, mandatory for large scale organisations, will have a positive impact on small and medium-sized enterprises as well.
The EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 22 October 2014, amending the CSR Directive (2013/34/EEC). It required Member States to transpose the rules on non-financial reporting into their national legislation by December 2016. In preparation for this, the Common Good Economy presented its Common Good Balance Sheet to the federal legislature of Austria and Germany in 2015 as an example of effective reporting.
The European Economic and Social Committee's recognition of the merits of the Economy for the Common Good is pointing the way. In its plenary session on 17 September 2015, the EESC approved an opinion on the Economy for the Common Good with a majority of 86%. The outcome of this vote was also a clear instruction to the European Commission: in the framework of the renewed CSR strategy, those enterprises that can demonstrate a higher ethical performance should be rewarded.
The result of the 168 votes cast was: