In brief: A guide to ‘conflicting and overlapping’ social sustainability reporting obligations

The 89-page report provides an in-depth look at the regulatory obligations for UK-based actors in the private markets.

When it comes to disclosure requirements around social sustainability themes, market participants can be subject to “conflicting and overlapping reporting obligations at once”, according to a new report jointly produced by Reed Smith and the Impact Investing Institute on social sustainability.

The report, which is UK-focused, highlights that actors in the private sector are under fewer reporting obligations than those in the public sector. “Within the private sector, where there is less mandated disclosure, there is an opportunity for corporate actors to differentiate themselves on the basis of ascribing to various voluntary reporting standards, where they exist,” the report said.

Divided into two parts, the first part of the report lays out the existing legislative framework, as well as the most commonly used voluntary frameworks, and covers the areas of employment, non-discrimination and social protection and inclusion.

The second part of the report is wider in scope and considers existing and proposed legislation across six areas, including data protection and tax evasion, without a focus on reporting obligations.