In the framework of the project “Building a Socially Responsible Business Environment” , funded by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, a workshop on “Social Pillar of Sustainability. Systems for reporting on the social component” was held, hosted by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Marina Stefanova, Ambassador of the partnership and success of NASО, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Economics at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, and head of the “Sustainable Development” Master Programme.
The aim of the workshop was to provide transparency and clarity to corporate sector representatives on the adoption of sustainable practices and models, how to integrate sustainability information and the reporting cycle of companies.
Dr. Stefanova revealed what the term “sustainability” means, what its philosophy is, what the new reporting systems are, how to plan a business model to make it sustainable in times of crisis, etc.
Topics such as sustainable financing, as the term entered Europe in 2018, a taxonomy regulation is being adopted in 2020 that classifies economic activities that contribute significantly to environmental goals using scientific criteria. Later in 2021, a Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation is now implemented in the EU. In the same year, sustainability preferences were adopted by the EC.
Emphasis was also placed on the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which is proposed by the EC in 2021 and already adopted in 2023. Dr. Stefanova, shared what lies ahead by 2028 for companies. In 2024, the CSRD will be applied by companies that already apply the NFRD and in 2025 it will be applied by all large companies. By 2028, the CSRD should also apply to third country companies.
The question was also raised as to whether sustainability is material in terms of impact when it refers to the material actual or potential, positive or negative impacts of the company on people or the environment in the short, medium and long term. It was clarified that impacts include the ones caused or contributed to by the company and those directly related to the company’s own operations, products or services through its business relationships. Business relationships include the inputs and outputs of the enterprise’s value chain and are not limited to direct contractual relationships. In this context, impacts on people or the environment include impacts related to environmental, social and governance issues.