Today, Thursday, 19th of November, the EACB together with ACCA, Accountancy Europe and SME United co-organised the webinar “How can non-financial information (NFI) reporting work for SMEs?”. The online event which was a success gathered around 120 participants.
At a moment where the collection of non-financial information is at the core of the strategic development of the sustainable finance agenda, SMEs are increasingly required to provide NFI reports, which is a heavy administrative burden, even though these are not (yet) demanded by legislation. These NFI requests come from their supply chains, banks or as part of public procurement. The webinar discussed the challenges and opportunities for SMEs and presented solutions to help SMEs cope.
Representing co-operative banks in the panel, Bouke de Vries, Chairman of the EACB Working group on Green and Sustainable Finance and Advisor to the Board on Public Affairs at Rabobank, stated: “Although sustainability reporting is not required by law for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, we can post the question whether excluding SME is the right thing to do. After all, SME represents a significant portion of our economy. Our society is facing increasing challenges in the areas of climate, biodiversity and threats to ecosystems. Many SME entrepreneurs are also concerned about this and have to take their fair share, taking proportionality into account. Banks, other financial entities, accountants and the business community can work together on these priorities. In addition the financial sector has to manage the sustainability risks of exposures to SMEs, allocate adequate capital for physical and transition risks, and has to report on the ecological footprints of portfolios. To do this meaningful, global and European standards and reliable ESG data are indispensable. We believe that the accountancy sector can play an important role in setting international standards, and verifying sustainability data and reporting processes.”
Links to the co-organizer partners: