Exploratory case study of the effects of the CSR Directive Implementation Act

Social transformation towards sustainability, and economic activity oriented towards this, is as a political objective in many political-economic and civic contexts in international, European and German development discussions today. However, academic analyses show that there is no ideal path towards the achievement of social change processes. Accordingly, case study-based research into the effects of (potential) political intervention will be important for an estimation of how far the (planned) interventions contribute to a sustainable transformation of economic structures.


The research project takes up these considerations and focuses its analysis on CSR Directive 2014/95/EU, adopted by the European Parliament and Council in October 2014, for its case study. The CSR Directive, which was implemented by the Federal Republic of Germany on 19 April 2017 by the Act to Strengthen Non-Financial Reporting by Companies in their Status and Group Management Reports (CSR Directive Implementation Act), stipulates the disclosure of non-financial information for certain companies. The reporting obligation comprises non-financial statements and key figures about environmental, social and employee concerns, respect for human rights and the fight against corruption.

The effects of this still recent law have not yet been researched. It remains unclear how the German companies addressed will handle this obligation and what structural effects this new law will have. Questions are raised concerning future report forms, structures and standards. Central to a comprehensive transformative effect is the extent to which suppliers and other stakeholders are involved in this reporting obligation and what effects this will have on transparency in the value chain or even in entire economic sectors. Crucial for the credibility of the statements is the extent to which relevant information is communicated that is accepted by stakeholders to assess the situation of the reporting company.


The aim of the preparatory research project is to use an exploratory case study to examine the effect of the law on strengthening the non-financial reporting of German companies in their status and group management reports. This case study is intended to serve as a building block for the development of a sustainability-oriented political consequence assessment approach.