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The explanatory effect of CSR committee and assurance services on the adoption of the IFC performance standards, as a means of enhancing corporate transparency

Isabel María García-Sánchez (Department of Administration, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain)
María-Elena Gómez-Miranda (Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain)
Fátima David (School of Technology and Management of the Guard, Polytechnic Institute of Guarda, Guarda, Portugal)
Lázaro Rodríguez-Ariza (Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 15 October 2019

Issue publication date: 24 October 2019

Abstract

Purpose

In view of the significant deficiencies that have been observed in corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting practices, some companies have undertaken a new communication strategy based on a combination of the GRI guidelines and the IFC Performance Standards (termed the GRI-IFC strategy). This paper aims to analyse the role of the CSR committee and of assurance services in promoting this novel practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use an unbalanced sample of 750 international companies that operate in emerging markets for the years 2011-2016, in which logistic and ordinal regressions are applied to the panel data to test the research hypotheses.

Findings

The results show that the existence of a CSR committee facilitates adoption of the GRI-IFC strategy, thus promoting sustainable management policies and systems and enhancing communication with stakeholders. In addition, these specialised committees often commission assurance for sustainability reports, to reinforce strategies aimed at improving corporate transparency.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis of mediation shows that diverse characteristics of corporate governance mechanisms interact in improving sustainability and business transparency.

Practical implications

There is an evident need for greater commitment by institutions to sustainability, for example by requiring greater specialisation of the members of the CSR committee in social and environmental issues. In addition, consideration should be given to including the creation of a CSR committee as a good practice, within the code of corporate governance and to establishing a specific framework for the committee’s actions.

Social implications

The previously cited impacts of this paper all contribute indirectly to a greater social welfare by generating higher levels of transparency, ethics and corporate performance. Specifically, higher quality verification services will have an impact on the improved functioning of the financial and capital markets, as well as in decision-making by internal and external stakeholders with more reliable information that will favour the implementation of more sustainable processes that in the short and long term will mean more companies who are responsible towards the environment and society.

Originality/value

This novel study explains why companies adopt voluntary strategies in compliance with GRI guidelines, seeking to provide better CSR disclosure.

Keywords

Citation

García-Sánchez, I.M., Gómez-Miranda, M.-E., David, F. and Rodríguez-Ariza, L. (2019), "The explanatory effect of CSR committee and assurance services on the adoption of the IFC performance standards, as a means of enhancing corporate transparency", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 10 No. 5, pp. 773-797. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-09-2018-0261

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited