Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and His Future Application Scenario for Italian SMEs

  •  Massimiliano Celli    
  •  Simona Arduini    
  •  Tommaso Beck    


The aim of this paper is to outline the salient points of CSRD (2022/2464/EU Directive) and reflect on its application for smaller enterprises, which typically have fewer resources than their listed counterparts. For these small entities the challenge of sustainability turns out to be more impactful and complex, potentially constituting an “information tsunami” for which they may find themselves completely unprepared. The theoretical framework underpinning this paper is overload theory. This theory, also linked to the economic and accounting background, is deeply rooted in the international academic literature as a “hot topic”, which suggests that processes may lead to increased cognitive overload due to excessive information volume. To test our hypothesis about the potentially overwhelming burden of environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting for small-medium enterprises (SMEs), we decided to observe how Italian ones use and manage the Sustainability Reporting (SR) as a voluntary tool. For this purpose, we carried out an empirical study related to a descriptive statistic based on a sample of 72 innovative Italian SMEs. To apply the utmost scientific rigor to our judgments, in accordance with the extensive literature reviewed, including in the field of accounting, we have based our empirical study on the established methodological technique of Content Analysis.

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