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Book part

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

Sergio Paternostro

There are still many different theoretical approaches and practical interpretations about what an integrated report is. Starting from this premise, the overall purpose of…

Abstract

There are still many different theoretical approaches and practical interpretations about what an integrated report is. Starting from this premise, the overall purpose of this chapter is to critically analyze the relationship between integrated reporting (IR) and social/sustainability disclosure. Indeed, although some scholars considered IR as a tool to improve the sustainability approach of the companies allowing to disclose more relevant social information, others are more critical about the potentiality of IR to improve social disclosure. Therefore, the general research question is: Is there a natural link between IR and social disclosure (true love) or is the IR a practice to “normalize” the social disclosure and accounting (forced marriage)?

In the attempt to provide a preliminary answer to the research question, the chapter analyzes what is the approach of three categories: (1) academics; (2) soft-regulators; and (3) companies. From the methodological point of view, a mixed method of analysis has been adopted.

From the analysis of the three different points of view, IR can be considered as a “contested concept” because of the heterogeneous and sometimes conflicting interpretations and implementation that are done on this type of report. This leads to relevant theoretical and practical implications.

Details

Non-Financial Disclosure and Integrated Reporting: Practices and Critical Issues
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-964-4

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Book part

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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Article

Mohammad Tazul Islam, Katsuhiko Kokubu and Kimitaka Nishitani

The purpose of this study is to test the legitimacy theory (LT) argument in the context of the banking industry of a developing country, taking Bangladesh as a case by…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to test the legitimacy theory (LT) argument in the context of the banking industry of a developing country, taking Bangladesh as a case by interpreting the bank managers’ perceptions in legitimizing corporate social (CS) reporting.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) listed banks data during a 10-year period (2004–2013) and uses Islam and Kokubu (2018) CS reporting index. The LT variables are tested by using multiple regression method. A mixed-method of research with “triangulation design” has been used in this study for a comprehensive understanding of LT variables. In addition, a total number of 28 interviews (ranges from Corporate Social Responsibility Operational Manager to Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer) from 24 listed banks have been conducted to interpret bank managers’ legitimate perception in CS reporting.

Findings

This study supports the applicability of the broader thrust of LT for the banking industry of the developing economies in three ways. First, for companies with lower “proximity to end-users” by density in population disclose more social information than the companies with higher ones to gain/regain/maintain market legitimacy. Second, newer banks with less scope to reach proximity to end-users disclose more social information to fill proximity to tertiary clients’ gap to meet community expectation. Third, companies disclose more social information in their annual reports to legitimize corporate actions in response to the CS reporting initiatives taken by the stakeholders, particularly regulators.

Research limitations/implications

The main implication of this study is that it extends the applicability of the LT for the developing country, in general, and for the banking industry, in particular.

Originality/value

The study enriches the existing LT literature of the developing economies’ banking industry by providing empirical evidence from the banking system in Bangladesh.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article

Ann Martin-Sardesai and James Guthrie

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it traces the development of social and environmental disclosure (SED) by identifying and reporting what national and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it traces the development of social and environmental disclosure (SED) by identifying and reporting what national and international guidelines aligned to the voluntary disclosures of a major Italian case study organisation, a Bank. It will address the gap in relation to empirical SED studies in banking industries by reviewing in detail the case study Bank’s social report, for the period 2007 to 2012, thus giving insights into the phases of the SED journey. Second, the paper assesses how the social reports have changed over time and identifies the reasons for the change in form and content of disclosure over the period. As a rapidly developing accounting regulatory arena, studies of SED have the potential to examine many aspects of the development of accounting regulation.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper develops a theoretically informed analysis to track the history of social reports using the Idea Journey framework. The paper undertakes a content analysis of the Bank’s social reports to gain an understanding how and why the changes in social reports occurred during the period. Data sources for the study included historical data from academic literature, policy documents alongside the 2006 version of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the 2008 GRI Financial Services Sector Supplements.

Findings

The findings reveal that the Bank’s social report was aligned to a variety of national and international institution’s directives and guidelines. It identifies the various elements that were at play in the preparation of the social report. The paper provides useful insights for academics, regulators and reporting organisations and highlights the need for a better understanding of social reporting practices, an antecedent to integrated reporting and the European directive and now regulation for non-financial information.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides a foundation for future research into the practices of Italian companies who produce integrated report and social and environmental reporting generally in light of the introduction of legislation mandating non-financial reporting.

Originality/value

The paper helps inform improvements in research, policy and practice by providing rich information in the stages in the development of social report, which has received limited attention in the extant literature. It also builds on innovation literature showing how the idea journey framework can be used to shape accounting research.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Article

Ratna Nurhayati, Grantley Taylor, Rusmin Rusmin, Greg Tower and Bikram Chatterjee

– The purpose of this research is to investigate the factors determining the social and environmental reporting (SER) of Indian textile and apparel (TA) firms.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to investigate the factors determining the social and environmental reporting (SER) of Indian textile and apparel (TA) firms.

Design/methodology/approach

The 2010 annual reports of a sample of top 100 Indian TA firms listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange were examined to assess the extent of SER. SER was assessed based on the Global Reporting Initiative index applicable to the TA industry. Multiple regression analysis was conducted to investigate the determinants of SER.

Findings

This study reports a low extent of SER in the annual reports of Indian listed TA firms, with a mean disclosure of 14 per cent. On average, firms reported more extensive environmental information, with a mean disclosure of 18.4 per cent, compared to social information, with a mean disclosure of 10.7 per cent. Most firms reported social information relating to “labour practices and decent work”, while the reporting of information relating to “human rights” was sparse. Overall, the SER patterns provide support for legitimacy theory. Consistent with legitimacy theory expectations, corporate size, brand development and audit committee size are significant factors determining the variation in SER. No significant relationship was found between board independence, level of ownership and SER.

Originality/value

There is no existing study specifically on SER by TA firms in India. In fact, there is surprisingly little research on SER in the Indian context in general. Given the dearth in research on corporate social reporting in the Indian context, the study extends prior literature on corporate SER by concentrating on SER of TA firms in an emerging economy. The theoretical contribution of this study is the testing of legitimacy theory in the context of an emerging economy. This study contributes towards practice by delineating the relationship between governance structure and SER, particularly with regard to issues such as child labour. These findings have implications for the future development of reporting standards and regulations in regard to corporate governance in India. The dearth of social reporting by Indian TA firms has implications for foreign purchasers of branded products, as international companies have been implicated in sub-optimal social or environmental practices or incidents.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article

Ulla Kotonen

The purpose of this paper is to analyse CSR reporting in large Finnish listed companies, focusing on the following questions: what kinds of motives and objectives appear…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse CSR reporting in large Finnish listed companies, focusing on the following questions: what kinds of motives and objectives appear behind CSR reporting, what kinds of documents are used in CSR reporting, and what kind of information related especially to CSR policy, stakeholders, as well as economic, social and environmental responsibilities, is presented? Finally, the idea is to compare large Finnish listed companies' CSR information with corresponding international results.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on the analysis of qualitative data consisting of formal CSR reports, including annual reports and special CSR reports, of 2006. The empirical analyses are supplemented with interviews with four company representatives and with two auditors. The information of special CSR reports is analysed by using the content method.

Findings

Companies understand responsibility as a duty to act responsibly towards their stakeholders and CSR reporting as a response to stakeholders' expectations and demands. The study indicates that especially corporate characteristics such as industry group and internationalization stage as well as general contextual factors such as social and cultural context affect voluntary CSR reporting. It shows that the large Finnish listed companies define corporate social responsibility as being based on Elkington's triple bottom line (TBL) model. In CSR reporting companies follow more or less GRI guidelines. Formal CSR information is presented based on the TBL model but companies emphasize different issues in their reporting.

Research limitations/implications

First, the research is based on interpretative understanding and these kinds of analyses are always more or less subjective. Second, the analysis is based on CSR information produced by large Finnish listed companies. Thus, the study does not give an extensive description of the CSR reporting in all Finnish listed companies or in non‐listed companies. Third, the research is a cross‐sectional study based on CSR information published in one particular year. And fourth, the research data include only certain formal CSR information, not all CSR disclosures. Thereby, the analysis gives a snapshot or a glimpse of Finnish CSR reporting practices. The analysis does not tell anything about history, development or future of CSR reporting practices or anything about other kinds of CSR communication of the large Finnish listed companies. Thus, the reality reconstructed in the study must not be generalized, but used to understand CSR reporting in the context.

Originality/value

The paper analyses CSR reporting in large Finnish listed companies, focusing on motives and objectives, documents used, and information related particularly to CSR policy, stakeholders, and economic, social and environmental responsibilities.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

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Article

Md Moazzem Hossain, Manzurul Alam, Muhammad Azizul Islam and Angela Hecimovic

The purpose of this study is to explore senior managers’ perception and motivations of corporate social and environmental responsibility (CSER) reporting in the context of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore senior managers’ perception and motivations of corporate social and environmental responsibility (CSER) reporting in the context of a developing country, Bangladesh.

Design/methodology/approach

In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 senior managers of companies listed on the Dhaka Stock Exchange. Publicly available annual reports of these companies were also analysed.

Findings

The results indicate that senior managers perceive CSER reporting as a social obligation. The study finds that the managers focus mostly on child labour, human resources/rights, responsible products/services, health education, sports and community engagement activities as part of the social obligations. Interviewees identify a lack of a regulatory framework along with socio-cultural and religious factors as contributing to the low level of disclosures. These findings suggest that CSER reporting is not merely stakeholder-driven, but rather country-specific social and environmental issues play an important role in relation to CSER reporting practices.

Research limitations/implications

This paper contributes to engagement-based studies by focussing on CSER reporting practices in developing countries and are useful for academics, practitioners and policymakers in understanding the reasons behind CSER reporting in developing countries.

Originality/value

This paper addresses a literature “gap” in the empirical study of CSER reporting in a developing country, such as Bangladesh. This study fills a gap in the existing literature to understand managers’ motivations for CSER reporting in a developing country context. Managerial perceptions on CSER issues are largely unexplored in developing countries.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article

Yingjun Lu, Indra Abeysekera and Corinne Cortese

This paper aims to examine the influence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting quality and board characteristics on corporate social reputation of Chinese…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the influence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting quality and board characteristics on corporate social reputation of Chinese listed firms.

Design/methodology/approach

Firms chosen for this study are drawn from a social responsibility ranking list of Chinese listed firms. The social responsibility rating scores identified by this ranking list are used to measure the social reputation of firms studied. The model-testing method is used to examine hypothesised relationships between CSR reporting quality, board characteristics and corporate social reputation.

Findings

The results indicate that CSR reporting quality positively influences corporate social reputation but chief executive officer/chairman duality as a measure of board characteristics has a negative impact on corporate social reputation. Firm’s financial performance and firm size also positively influence corporate social reputation.

Research limitations/implications

The relatively small sample of firms for a cross-sectional study, and the proxies constructed for various concepts to empirically test hypotheses can limit generalising findings to firms outside the social responsibility ranking list. Future studies can undertake longitudinal analysis and compare socially responsible firms with others to expand empirical findings about corporate social reputation.

Originality/value

This paper investigates the influences of CSR reporting quality and board characteristics on corporate social reputation in the context of a developing country, China.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

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Article

Yuanhui Li, Jie Zhang and Check-Teck Foo

Here, the paper aims to model major corporate characteristics associated with corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting (in particular, its quality). Corporations in…

Abstract

Purpose

Here, the paper aims to model major corporate characteristics associated with corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting (in particular, its quality). Corporations in China are increasingly expected by the public and government to be more socially responsible. As such, it will be intriguing to ask, what are the characteristics associated with higher quality CSR reporting?

Design/methodology/approach

CSR report quality scores are hand-gathered from HEXUN (web site) whilst financial and stock market information from the China Stock Market and Accounting Research (CSMAR) database. A total of 613 CSR reports' quality scores were utilized (Rankins CSR ratings) in the process of developing the model. Reports are hand-gathered from corporations listed on both the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges (SSE).

Findings

The results suggest most interestingly, the quality of CSR report (mandatory) to be strongly, positively related with corporate financial characteristics: market capitalization (corporate size), shareholders' concentration of powers, corporate financial leverage (implying bondholders/debtors' influence). Surprisingly, CSR reporting is associated neither with corporate profitability nor by state-ownership. The presence of independent directors (at least in China) seems to have negative influences.

Practical implications

CSR reporting may easily be mandated by government through a regulatory process. However, this does not necessarily lead to reports of a high quality. Instead, orientation towards higher visibility in social responsibility for listed corporations is better explained by financial characteristics: market valuation, ownership and leverage.

Originality/value

This paper utilizes for the first time, in-depth and multi-faceted quality CSR scores (overall, segregated into macro-social, content and technology) for investigating CSR behavior of listed corporations in China. The findings suggest financial characteristics size (market valuation), ownership (shareholders' concentration of powers) and corporate leverage are better predictors of CSR behavior among listed corporations.

Details

Chinese Management Studies, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-614X

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