This article analyzes the interplay between regulation and social and environmental reporting in northern Italian social enterprises. Specifically, it investigates how “non-accredited” social enterprises discharge voluntary accountability before and after the introduction of regulation making social and environmental reporting compulsory for “accredited-social enterprises.” By developing a content analysis on 170 stand-alone social and environmental reports, this article provides a longitudinal analysis of voluntary disclosures in a regulated context from 2006 (before regulation) to 2009 (after regulation). Based on the total number of disclosures and the average number of sentences per report, Italian “non-regulated” social enterprises showed increased voluntary disclosure on social and environmental matters from 2006 to 2009; however, when analyzing the average sentences per report, it emerges that the information contained in the stand-alone social and environmental reports decreased, especially disclosures related to “social-related issues.” This article looks beyond crude noncompliance analysis with legislation and analyzes if the regulation influences organizations’ voluntary disclosure. It analyzes all of the social and environmental disclosures provided by northern Italian “non-accredited” social enterprises before and after the introduction of regulation. The novelty of this article rests in the fact that it does not analyze the social and environmental disclosure of “legal social enterprises”; rather, it considers the whole voluntary disclosure context for “non-accredited” social enterprises in a regulated environment.
Costa, E. (2014), "Voluntary Disclosure in a Regulated Context: The Case of Italian Social Enterprises", Accountability and Social Accounting for Social and Non-Profit Organizations (Advances in Public Interest Accounting, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 223-249. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1041-706020140000017009
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