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Audit and CSR committees: are they complements or substitutes in CSR reporting, assurance and GRI framework adoption?

Ali Uyar (Department of Accounting, Excelia Business School, La Rochelle, France)
Hany Elbardan (Bournemouth University Business School, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK and Faculty of Commerce, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt)
Cemil Kuzey (Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, USA)
Abdullah S. Karaman (College of Engineering and Technology, American University of the Middle East, Egaila, Kuwait)

International Journal of Accounting & Information Management

ISSN: 1834-7649

Article publication date: 15 September 2022

Issue publication date: 31 January 2023




This study aims mainly to test the effect of audit committee independence and expertise attributes on corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting, assurance and global reporting initiative (GRI) framework adoption and to investigate how CSR committee existence moderates this main relationship.


The study uses a large global sample that includes all (59,172) firm-year observations having CSR-related data in the Thomson Reuters Eikon database for a period between 2002 and 2019. The empirical analyses are based on random-effects logistic panel regression and Hayes methodology for the moderation analysis.


The study finds that audit committee independence and expertise are significantly associated with CSR reporting, CSR report assurance and GRI framework adoption. Moderation analysis largely supports the existence of a substitution role between audit and CSR committees and implies that audit committees are significant predictors of CSR reporting, assurance and GRI framework adoption mostly in the absence of the CSR committee.

Practical implications

The findings propose audit committee members be extra-vigilant in CSR reporting and assurance practices arising from undertaking substitution roles with the CSR committee. Hence, firms may configure their corporate structure in line with the results such as augmenting the audit committee with independent and expert members if they do not constitute a CSR committee. If firms establish a CSR committee, audit committee members may allocate less time to CSR reporting and assurance and more time to financial reporting quality.


This is the first study, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, to investigate the direct and indirect effect of audit committees’ attributes not only on CSR disclosure but also on GRI implementation and CSR reporting external assurance, considering the CSR committee’s possible substitutability or complementarity moderating role. This research develops a deeper understanding of audit committees’ non-financial role.



Author contributions: Ali Uyar involved in topic development; organizing the team/coordinating; conceptualization; writing -original draft; and review and editing. Hany Elbardan did the conceptualization; writing-original draft; review and editing; Cemil Kuzey involved in formal analysis; writing, review and editing; Abdullah S. Karaman involved in data collection and merging; and editing.

Ethics approval statement: The authors confirm that they adhered to ethical guidelines of the journal as specified on the author guidelines page.


Uyar, A., Elbardan, H., Kuzey, C. and Karaman, A.S. (2023), "Audit and CSR committees: are they complements or substitutes in CSR reporting, assurance and GRI framework adoption?", International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 1-36.



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