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Book part
Publication date: 3 December 2003

Marc J Epstein

This paper provides a review of the progress made in both academic literature and corporate practice over the last forty years. Although there has been an increase in the…

Abstract

This paper provides a review of the progress made in both academic literature and corporate practice over the last forty years. Although there has been an increase in the number of companies producing social and environmental reports, the quality of the disclosures has not increased. Further, there is little evidence of progress in the integration of social and environmental impacts into management decisions. The paper provides suggestions on research needs to increase the integration of social and environmental impacts into management decisions and improve both the internal reporting and external disclosures and accountability of corporations.

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Advances in Environmental Accounting & Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-070-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2005

Isabel Gallego

In recent years the concept of corporate social responsibility has gained prominence among academics from a wide range of disciplines. According to the Green Paper issued…

Abstract

In recent years the concept of corporate social responsibility has gained prominence among academics from a wide range of disciplines. According to the Green Paper issued by the Commission of the European Communities in July 2001, corporate social responsibility is defined as a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis. The problem is how firms have made known the information on corporate social responsibility. With this in mind, in the present work we were prompted to analyse the relevance of corporate social responsibility in Spanish firms. To perform this study we examined some Spanish firms that present information about corporate social responsibility according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework. Certain relevant conclusions about corporate social responsibility indicate that the disclosure of information about corporate social responsibility and the elaboration of the Sustainability Report in Spanish firms has been increasing and improving in recent years, that some of the most relevant information is economic, social and environmental, the environmental aspect being the most outstanding, and that of the firms analysed, Inditex (manufacturing industries) and Telefonica (communications) are the ones reporting the best information.

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Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 1 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article
Publication date: 15 August 2016

Sarah George Lauwo, Olatunde Julius Otusanya and Owolabi Bakre

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the ongoing debate on governance, accountability, transparency and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the mining sector…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the ongoing debate on governance, accountability, transparency and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the mining sector of a developing country context. It examines the reporting practices of the two largest transnational gold-mining companies in Tanzania in order to draw attention to the role played by local government regulations and advocacy and campaigning by nationally organised non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with respect to promoting corporate social reporting practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes a political economy perspective to consider the serious implications of the neo-liberal ideologies of the global capitalist economy, as manifested in Tanzania’s regulatory framework and in NGO activism, for the corporate disclosure, accountability and responsibility of transnational companies (TNCs). A qualitative field case study methodology is adopted to locate the largely unfamiliar issues of CSR in the Tanzanian mining sector within a more familiar literature on social accounting. Data for the case study were obtained from interviews and from analysis of documents such as annual reports, social responsibility reports, newspapers, NGO reports and other publicly available documents.

Findings

Analysis of interviews, press clips and NGO reports draws attention to social and environmental problems in the Tanzanian mining sector, which are arguably linked to the manifestation of the broader crisis of neo-liberal agendas. While these issues have serious impacts on local populations in the mining areas, they often remain invisible in mining companies’ social disclosures. Increasing evidence of social and environmental ills raises serious questions about the effectiveness of the regulatory frameworks, as well as the roles played by NGOs and other pressure groups in Tanzania.

Practical implications

By empowering local NGOs through educational, capacity building, technological and other support, NGOs’ advocacy, campaigning and networking with other civil society groups can play a pivotal role in encouraging corporations, especially TNCs, to adopt more socially and environmentally responsible business practices and to adhere to international and local standards, which in turn may help to improve the lives of many poor people living in developing countries in general, and Tanzania in particular.

Originality/value

This paper contributes insights from gold-mining activities in Tanzania to the existing literature on CSR in the mining sector. It also contributes to political economy theory by locating CSR reporting within the socio-political and regulatory context in which mining operations take place in Tanzania. It is argued that, for CSR reporting to be effective, robust regulations and enforcement and stronger political pressure must be put in place.

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Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 29 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 19 March 2021

Bello Usman Baba and Usman Aliyu Baba

This paper aims to examine the effect of ownership structure variables on social and environmental disclosure practice in Nigeria. The paper also investigates the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the effect of ownership structure variables on social and environmental disclosure practice in Nigeria. The paper also investigates the moderating impact of intellectual capital disclosure on the relationship between ownership structure elements, social and environmental disclosure.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopted the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) disclosure framework to extract social and environmental disclosure information from corporate social and environmental reports of 80 companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The study spanned from 2012–2017. Management ownership, foreign ownership, block ownership and dispersed ownership are considered as determinants of social and environmental disclosure. A multiple regression analysis was used to test the relationships specified in the study.

Findings

The result of the descriptive analysis has shown evidence of a low-level disclosure of social and environmental information in corporate reports (annual reports and corporate social and environmental reports) of companies. From the regression analysis, block ownership, foreign ownership and dispersed ownership are found to enhance the disclosure of social and environmental information in the corporate report of companies. However, management ownership was found to be insignificantly related to social and environmental disclosure. The result also revealed that intellectual capital disclosure has a significant positive effect on the relationship between management ownership, foreign ownership and dispersed ownership, social and environmental disclosure. However, intellectual capital disclosure does not moderate the relationship between block ownership, social and environmental disclosure.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to empirically examine the moderating effect of intellectual capital disclosure on ownership structure variables, social and environmental disclosure. The result of the study offer researchers a better understanding of the impact of ownership structure variables on social and environmental disclosure. The findings are useful to researchers, corporate managers, policymakers and regulatory bodies.

Details

Journal of Global Responsibility, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2041-2568

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Book part
Publication date: 27 January 2014

Camelia Iuliana Lungu, Chiraţa Caraiani and Cornelia Dascălu

This study analyses the scope of social and environmental reporting from the perspective of integrating it in financial reporting and comments on a new approach regarding…

Abstract

Purpose

This study analyses the scope of social and environmental reporting from the perspective of integrating it in financial reporting and comments on a new approach regarding the presentation of social and environmental information in the annual reports from Romanian companies’ perspective.

Methodology

A literature review introduces and justifies the second part of the research. The latter is organised as an exploratory study based on interviews. It presents the current state of Romanian companies’ availability for reconsidering financial reporting from the perspective of corporate social responsibility.

Findings

While social and environmental involvement of Romanian companies is at an early stage, there is a basis for future development of corporate reporting by addressing social and environmental aspects. We noticed that companies have the tendency of responding rather to a mandatory framework than a voluntary one.

Research limitations

The limitations of the research are linked to the study population. The small number of Romanian companies that publicly manifest interest for social responsibility determined the choice of a qualitative instead of a quantitative research.

Social implications

The exploratory study based on the case of Romania accompanies the present state of non-financial versus financial reporting in order to highlight measurable and non-measurable, but relevant, information to be considered in a future reporting framework.

Originality of the chapter

The study advances new lines in accounting research by confronting the national and international perspectives of social and environmental reporting. Debates and arguments on the research results add value and utility to the research.

Details

Accounting in Central and Eastern Europe
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-939-3

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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2013

Simone Domenico Scagnelli, Laura Corazza and Maurizio Cisi

Nowadays, social and environmental reporting is approached in different ways, paths and fields by either large-, small-, or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, as…

Abstract

Purpose

Nowadays, social and environmental reporting is approached in different ways, paths and fields by either large-, small-, or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, as demonstrated by previous scholars, SMEs have been critically discussed because they provide lack of proper sustainability disclosure. The fact that the predominant approach of SMEs toward social responsibility is often “sunken” and not “explicit” can drive the lack of disclosure. Furthermore, unstructured communication practices create difficulties in measuring and reporting the sustainability reporting phenomenon in SMEs. The aim of our study is to shed light on the activity of SMEs’ sustainability reporting and disclosure, specifically, by addressing the variables that influence the choice of the guidelines used to prepare sustainability reports.

Design/methodology/approach

The research has been carried out by using qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The empirical evidence is based on all the Italian companies, mostly SMEs, that were certified in 2011 as having adopted both environmental (i.e., ISO14001 or EMAS) and social (i.e., SA8000) management systems. A multivariate linear regression model has been developed to address the influence of several variables (i.e., financial performance, size, time after achievement of the certifications, group/conglomerate control, etc.) on the guidelines’ choice for preparing sustainability reports.

Findings

Our findings demonstrate that SMEs prefer to use simple guidelines such as those guidelines that are mandatory under management system certifications. However, the sustainability disclosure driven by the adoption of international guidelines may be more complex if the SME is controlled within a group of companies or if a significant amount of time has passed since the certification date. As such, we developed a taxonomy of their different behavioral drivers according to a legitimacy theory approach.

Research limitations

At this stage, our study didn’t focus on the contents’ quality of the disclosure and reporting practices adopted by SMEs, which is obviously a worthwhile and important area for further research. Furthermore, the analysis took into account the impact of a number of easily accessible variables; therefore, it can be extended to investigate the effect on disclosure of other relevant variables (i.e., nature of the board of directors, age, and industrial sector in which the company operates) as well as contexts prevailing in other countries.

Practical implications

The study represents an important contribution for understanding how and why managers might use externally focused disclosure on social and environmental issues to benefit the company’s legitimacy.

Social implications

Our study provides interesting insights for policy makers who require social or environmental certification when calling for tenders or specific EU contracts, in order to put aside the “brand” or “symbol” and really focus on the disclosed practices.

Originality/value

Previous studies have provided only a few evidence about reporting practices and related influencing features of SMEs’ sustainability actions. As such, the study wishes to make a significant contribution to the existing literature on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by providing relevant insights about the factors which influence the guidelines used by SMEs in preparing their sustainability reports.

Details

Accounting and Control for Sustainability
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-766-6

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Book part
Publication date: 14 September 2018

Thinh Hoang

The belief that modern organisations have responsibility for their stakeholders, community and society has existed for many decades (Carroll & Shabana, 2010). In this…

Abstract

The belief that modern organisations have responsibility for their stakeholders, community and society has existed for many decades (Carroll & Shabana, 2010). In this context, there is increasing demand for the non-financial factors (e.g. corporate social responsibility (CSR), natural and human capitals) from stakeholders for making the appropriate business decision (Eccles & Saltzman, 2011). This information of the organisation is therefore required to not only disclose relevant and reliable information, but also monitor corporate executives.

In the other side, corporation reports are criticised as they do not provide the whole business picture of the way organisations organise financial and non-financial elements to creating value yet. It has ignored or reported just a part of the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) impact made by an organisation (Flower, 2015). As a consequence, there has been a call for improving firm report on environmental, CSR and corporate governance in particular, and additional factors that can potentially impact on business performance in general.

Recently, various corporation reports related to environmental, social activities and sustainability have been introduced, and integrated reporting (IR) is one of them. IR framework is introduced as a new standard for corporate communication. It is ‘a concise communication about how an organisation’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects lead to the creation of value over the short, medium and long term’. A number of important outcomes are attributed to IR including satisfying the information needs of stakeholders and driving organisational change towards more sustainable outcomes (Eccles & Krzus, 2010); reducing reputational risk and allowing companies to make better financial and non-financial decisions; and helping to break down operational and reporting silos in organisations and improving systems and processes (Stubbs & Higgins, 2012). Since the IR emphasise the integration of financial and non-financial data into one report, it calls for experience and knowledge from not only the board as management role but also accountant as practice role to deal with this emerging issue.

This chapter considers the problem of the link between how to reporting the ESG information, the management role board and practice role of accountants in organisation to successfully embed ESG information into the overall corporation strategy. We identify the issues with the demand of ESG information from stakeholders and the lack of connecting and integrating the environmental and corporate social sustainability information into organisation report. We explore the development of IR and integrated thinking (InTh) and the opportunities for board in integrating ESG information into practices and eliminating the ESG and reputational risks. Finally, we consider how management accountant via adopting IR and practising InTh can act as the important role in providing and delivering the better ESG information to stakeholders.

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2002

Carol A. Adams

Prior empirical research into factors which are influential in determining the extent and nature of corporate social reporting has primarily been concerned with the impact…

Abstract

Prior empirical research into factors which are influential in determining the extent and nature of corporate social reporting has primarily been concerned with the impact of corporate characteristics (such as size and industry grouping) or general contextual factors (such as the social, political and economic context). Relatively little prior work has examined the internal contextual factors and their impact on reporting despite increasing emphasis in the field of practice on reporting processes and governance structures. In this study interviews were conducted with seven large multinational companies in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors of the UK and Germany in order to identify any internal contextual factors influencing the nature and extent of reporting. The work highlights the lack of explanatory power of the existing social reporting theories. A more inclusive model of corporate social reporting is presented.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

A. Salama, A. Cathcart, M. Andrews and R. Hall

This paper was motivated by the current debate over the voluntary approach to environmental disclosures in corporate annual reports and assesses the effectiveness of the…

Abstract

This paper was motivated by the current debate over the voluntary approach to environmental disclosures in corporate annual reports and assesses the effectiveness of the current policy of voluntarism in the UK. A brief review of the relevant theories, which explain why managers might choose to voluntarily provide environmental responsibility information to parties outside the organisation, is presented. With this background, the paper then questions whether the UK government’s faith in voluntarism and the pursuit of best practice will be enough to generate any real change in current environmental reporting practices. We argue that voluntarism is not effective and that there is an urgent need to introduce strict governmental regulations on the information that must be disclosed and the form in which it should be presented in corporate annual reports as have been established in several other countries. In addition, further consideration is needed to achieve reforms in academic accounting education in order to improve corporate accountability and transparency in corporate annual reports. Organisations need to respond to the growing demands for corporate social and environmental responsibility and this will be possible with the support of an accounting profession that takes a more proactive approach to engaging with stakeholders. For this to happen, we need to rethink the focus of accounting and business education. We must move away from the dominant model, which treats accountancy as a set of techniques, towards a more holistic approach which recognises the social and environmental impacts of organisational activity.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 2 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article
Publication date: 27 May 2014

Arzu Özsözgün Çalişkan

– The main purpose of this paper is to illustrate the role of accounting and accounting professionals in sustainability by conducting an in-depth literature review.

Abstract

Purpose

The main purpose of this paper is to illustrate the role of accounting and accounting professionals in sustainability by conducting an in-depth literature review.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a review-based article that does not contain empirical research. A comprehensive literature research was conducted by using online databases of selected scientific publishers and using keywords such as accounting, accounting professionals, sustainability, sustainability reporting and sustainability accounting. In addition to that, web pages of the accounting regulatory bodies and four big audit companies were also investigated.

Findings

Based upon the literature survey, it can be said that there is a lack of defining the relationship between the sustainability concept and accounting and also potential solutions to overcome the problems which create challenges for accounting and accounting professionals.

Research limitations/implications

The only limitation of the study can be explained as it being a literature survey.

Practical implications

It is expected that the results of the paper will appear in several applications among accounting professionals, the firm that they work in, the association of professional accountants, education institutions and all the stakeholders of accounting, especially in countries with the relatively early stage of sustainability practices. The paper may give insight into aforementioned stakeholders of accounting in reformation of accounting toward sustainability.

Originality/value

The main contribution of this paper is to fulfill the gap in the accounting and sustainability literature by suggesting “certified sustainability accountant” credential that is equipped with core knowledge of environmental engineering as a specialized profession to handle the technical accounting problems that are related to sustainability.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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