With a delay of more than one year, the German legislator has finally transposed the so-called Whistleblower Directive into German law. After the Bundestag gave its approval to the draft law on 11 May 2023 based on the recommendation of the Mediation Committee, it also passed the Bundesrat on 12 May 2023. The law will mostly enter into force on 02.07.2023. ...read more
In many cases, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are committed to the region and take responsibility for their actions. This is why environmental, social and governance issues are already an integral part of the corporate strategy of many SMEs.
Companies that act sustainably have a clear advantage, because the topic is booming like never before and the demands are increasing. Numerous initiatives more and more are bringing the issue of ESG into the public consciousness and making it a hot topic in politics and business. Ever more legal requirements to act sustainably are joining voluntary commitments, even for SMEs.
In the past ten years, numerous legislative initiatives have been launched that make ESG more than just a future trend in the legal sphere. Detached from the responsibility of large capital-market-oriented enterprises, these initiatives also radiate onto medium-sized companies, which feel at least indirect pressure to implement them.
Thus, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) must also be observed by smaller and medium-sized capital market-oriented companies from 2026. Companies with more than 50 employees will have to comply with the regulations on whistleblower protection by 17 December 2023, and companies with at least 3,000 employees will have to fulfil extensive reporting and due diligence obligations under the new Supply Chain Due Diligence Act by 1 January 2023. ESG-relevant requirements exist in almost innumerable areas.
With the fast development and multitude of different laws, guidelines and other partly already binding or (still) voluntary requirements for the implementation of ESG-relevant aspects, it is easy to lose the overview. Against this backdrop, SMEs in particular should not sit back and relax. The early introduction of sustainable structures, the legally compliant implementation of legal requirements and the preparation for laws and regulations that will come into force in the near future lead to an advantage in industry-specific competition, an increase in the chances of success and significantly drive innovation in the company. At the same time, risks are avoided for all parties involved and represent an investment in the future today.
The topic of ESG plays into the relevant areas of commercial law - from labor law to compliance to commercial criminal law. They have to be taken into account in the respective discipline. Across all areas of law, the following range of services is relevant.