Using the International Integrated Reporting Framework to comply with EU Directive 2014/95/EU: can we afford another reporting façade?
Purpose Motivated by claims that the International Integrated Reporting Framework (IRF) can be used to comply with Directive 2014/95/EU (the EU Directive) on non-financial and diversity disclosure, the purpose of this study is to examine whether companies can comply with corporate reporting laws using de facto standards or frameworks. Design/methodology/approach The authors adopted an interpretivist approach to research along with current regulatory studies that aim to investigate business compliance with the law using private sector standards. To support the authors’ arguments, publicly available secondary data sources were used, including newsletters, press releases and websites, reports from key players within the accounting profession, public documents issued by the European Commission and data from corporatergister.com. Findings To become a de facto standard or framework, a private standard-setter requires the support of corporate regulators to mandate it in a specific national jurisdiction. The de facto standard-setter requires a powerful coalition of actors who can influence the policymakers to allow its adoption and diffusion at a national level to become mandated. Without regulatory support, it is difficult for a private and voluntary reporting standard or framework to be adopted and diffused. Moreover, the authors report that the <IRF> preferences stock market capitalism over sustainability because it privileges organisational sustainability over social and environmental sustainability, emphasises value creation over holding organisations accountable for their impact on society and the environment and privileges the entitlements of providers of financial capital over other stakeholders. Research limitations/implications The authors question the suitability of the goals of both the <IRF> and the EU Directive during and after the COVID-19 crisis. The planned changes to both need rethinking as we head into uncharted waters. Moreover, the authors believe that the people cannot afford any more reporting façades. Originality/value The authors offer a critical analysis of the link between the <IRF> and the EU Directive and how the <IRF> can be used to comply with the EU Directive. By questioning the relevance of the compliance question, the authors advance a critique about the relevance of these and other legal and de facto frameworks, particularly considering the more pressing needs that must be met to address the economic, social and environmental implications of the COVID-19 crisis.