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Voluntary CSR disclosure works! Evidence from Asia-Pacific banks

Ameeta Jain (School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Monica Keneley (School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Dianne Thomson (School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting in six large banks each from Japan, China, Australia and India over the period of 2005-2011.

Design/methodology/approach

CSR and banks’ annual reports and websites were analysed using a comprehensive disclosure framework to evaluate the themes of ethical standards, extent of CSR reporting, environment, products, community, employees, supply chain management and benchmarking.

Findings

Over the seven years, bank CSR disclosure improved in all four countries. Australian banks were found to have the best scores and Indian banks demonstrated maximum improvement. Despite the absence of legislative requirements or standards for CSR, this paper finds that CSR reporting continued to improve in quality and quantity in the region on a purely voluntary basis.

Research limitations/implications

This study indicates that financial institutions have a commitment to CSR activities. The comparison between financial institutions in developed and developing economies suggests that the motivation for such activities is complex. A review of the studied banks suggests that strategic rather than economic drivers are an important influence.

Practical implications

Asia-Pacific Governments need not mandate bank CSR reporting standards as the banks improved their CSR reporting consistently over the seven years despite the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

Originality/value

A disclosure framework index is used to assess the comprehensiveness of bank practice in relation to CSR reporting. This approach enables cross-sectional and cross-country comparisons over time and the ability to replicate and apply to other industries or sectors.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by a grant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia (ICAA). This was an academic grant won by a competitive grant application process. The ICAA did not have any control or input into the study design, research method or any other aspect of research.

Citation

Jain, A., Keneley, M. and Thomson, D. (2015), "Voluntary CSR disclosure works! Evidence from Asia-Pacific banks", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 2-18. https://doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-10-2012-0136

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited