At the turn of the year, the Finnish Parliament approved the implementation of the EU’s so-called Disclosure of Non-Financial Information Directive in Finland. The directive defines the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information on the part of certain kinds of companies.
What kinds of companies are covered by the disclosure requirement?
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment estimates that there are approximately one hundred companies in Finland that meet the requirements. These are companies important to the common interest (public companies, credit institutions and insurance companies) whose average number of employees exceeds 500, and exceeds either a balance sheet total of 20 million euros or a net turnover of 40 million euros
Starting with the 2017 accounting period, these companies must start public reporting of their non-financial information in connection with their annual report or in some other public way.
The directive naturally intends to make reporting more uniform and to increase openness within the EU. Until now, the various EU countries have followed different practices and reported different things – if anything has been reported at all. Uniform reporting makes it easier to compare companies and practices. It also increases equality. At the same time, it will hopefully encourage businesses to be more responsible as they are required to assess (get the opportunity to assess!) the risks and effects of their activity.
But what does this have to do with business travel?
The areas of responsibility mentioned in the directive are the environment; social responsibility and employees; anti-corruption and anti-bribery activities; and supporting diversity.
Travel and the environment go together a long way back. The equation involving traffic and environmental effects is being discussed regularly, and for good reason. In businesses that produce non-material services, travel may be the second largest source of greenhouse gases, right after real estate costs.
And although equality, working conditions and anti-corruption are in good health in Finland, the situation can change radically if the service producer is from a more exotic country. Travel-related factors to be taken into account include the hotels and other services used in the destination country and dealings with the public authorities in that country, for instance with respect to visa applications.
What exactly is required to be reported?
The directive requires companies to report on their operating outlines, including their due diligence processes; the results achieved in the areas of responsibility listed above; the principal risks and their management; and the non-financial key performance indicators relevant to the particular business.
In travel, these are achieved one step at a time. The means include competitive tendering, travel guidelines and influencing the travellers’ own behaviour. For example, do your travellers know how to save energy in hotels or how to avoid counterfeit money on business trips?
Are you interested in developing your travel in a more responsible direction as required by the directive? Ask for our assistance: email@example.com.