The European Union is soon to pass a directive on Corporate Sustainability Reporting, which will increase transparency into the sustainability performance of large companies and listed SMEs. At HOGENT, students of the bachelor program “Applied Computer Science” are creating a database that captures sustainability information of Belgian SMEs. This information is retrieved from their annual reports, websites and sustainability reports. In addition, these students are developing a tool to identify and analyse similarities and differences in sustainability disclosures of Belgian SMEs.
financial and non-financial performance
Integrated Reporting is a way for companies to provide stakeholders with information about their financial and non-financial performance. This type of reporting is becoming increasingly important as global issues such as climate change, ethics and human rights, as well as the scarcity of natural resources, become more prevalent. By taking these non-financial aspects into account and considering them as valuable capital, companies are able to manage the organisation in a more holistic way.
The students also interviewed several SMEs and accounting practices to gain a better insight in challenges they encounter regarding sustainability reporting. This research project aims to analyse how Belgian SMEs currently report their value creation, and which steps they can take to further expand their sustainability reporting in a meaningful way.