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Reporting on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the Largest Listed Companies in Eleven Central and Eastern European (CEE) Countries; First-Time Comparison with Peers in Portugal and Spain

Submitted by: Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program

Categories: Business Ethics

Posted: May 05, 2006 – 12:00 AM EST

 

Today, the Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program publishes its sixth semi-annual Survey of Reporting on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the Ten Largest Listed Companies (by market capitalization) in 11 Central and Eastern European (CEE) Countries. Companies in Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia were surveyed for the sixth time; companies in Hungary and Poland were surveyed for the fifth time; and companies in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania were surveyed for the fourth time.

Moreover, an analysis of CSR disclosures by the ten largest listed companies (by market capitalization) in Portugal and Spain is included in the survey for the first time.

PFS Program interns Pawel Dziedzic, Ewa Haratym, Anita Keringer and Anna Pogorzelska conducted the survey from March 1 through May 4, 2006.

PFS Program surveys analyze the annual reports and websites of the ten largest listed companies in the above-mentioned 11 CEE countries in order to document the current disclosure practices of this "blue-chip" peer group and identify best practice among the peer group. Whereas the universe of companies surveyed may change over time due to changes in a company's market capitalization, the semi-annual surveys of reporting on CSR represent a snapshot of this peer group's CSR disclosure practices on a given day twice a year. Furthermore, by analyzing disclosures in both annual reports and websites, the surveys track the timing of the publication of the annual report and the related yet separate issue of periodic disclosure, namely, how blue-chip companies keep their websites data-rich and up-to-date.

This survey analyzes companies' disclosures in English (in the English-language annual report and on the English-language company website) during the time period March - April 2005 on the following three topics: corporate governance, environmental policy and social policy. The record date for the disclosures is April 15, 2006.

In the Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia all 10 of the companies surveyed have an English-language website. In Hungary and Lithuania, nine of the 10 companies have an English-language website. In general, companies in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia disclose the most information online.

This sixth semi-annual survey notes a generally similar level of disclosure on company websites to that observed during the past three years across all three information categories analyzed - corporate governance, environmental policy and social policy. In general, companies provide more information on corporate governance than on environmental policy or social policy. Also, corporate governance codes continue to significantly impact reporting on corporate governance issues in certain countries. One trend can be observed. Several companies now issue separate/stand-alone reports on environmental, social and/or governance (ESG) issues. Of the 110 CEE companies surveyed, 15 have English-language ESG reports available on their websites as of April 15, 2006. In contrast, eight Spanish companies and seven Portuguese companies have ESG reports.

Survey findings include the following:

  • 87% of the companies surveyed have an English-language website, compared with 89% in September 2005, 83% in April 2005 and 84% in August 2004.

  • 69% of the companies surveyed disclose information about their governance structure on their website, compared with 79% in September 2005, 71% in April 2005 and 69% in August 2004).

  • Seven Slovene companies disclose implementation of a corporate governance code in the annual report, compared with one in April 2005.

  • Six Czech companies, six Polish companies and five Hungarian companies now disclose implementation of a corporate governance code in the annual report.

  • Nine Polish companies, six Hungarian companies, four Czech companies and four Slovene companies report on implementation of a corporate governance code on the company website.

  • 28 companies (25%) now disclose compliance with a corporate governance code on their website, compared with 20 companies (18%) in September 2005 and 19 companies (17%) in April 2005.

  • 37% of the companies surveyed mention compliance with environmental standards on their website, compared with 48% in September 2005, 41% in April 2005 and 37% in August 2004.

  • 37% of the companies surveyed disclose community, patronage and/or sponsorship programs in the (2003, 2004 or 2005) annual reports currently available online, compared with 36% in September 2005, 28% in April 2005 and 30% in August 2004.

  • 37% of the companies surveyed disclose community, patronage and/or sponsorship programs on their website, compared with 47% in September 2005, 37% in April 2005 and 32% in August 2004.

    Comparisons of disclosures in annual reports is not as relevant in the spring edition of the semi-annual survey, since as of April 15, 2006 many companies have not yet published their 2005 annual report online. However, it should be noted that Estonia is the clear exception in the region. By April 15, 2006 nine of the 10 Estonian companies surveyed had published an English-language version of their annual report online. However, it should be noted that in many cases the annual report is only available on the website of the Tallinn Stock Exchange. Nevertheless, in each of the five previous surveys, all 10 Estonian companies provided electronic versions of their annual report online and in this survey nine of the 10 Estonian companies did so. This was not the case in any of the other 10 countries.

    Note: The survey consists of the following documents: a presentation of data aggregated by country; a database of individual data by company for the ten largest listed companies in each of the 11 CEE countries; and a separate database of individual data by company for the ten largest listed companies in Portugal and Spain.

    Starting today, the survey is available online at:
    http://www.pfsprogram.org/capitalmarkets_research.php

    About the Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program

    The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) established the Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program in 1999 as a public-private partnership to help complete reforms necessary to create sound, private and well-functioning financial sectors in the eight Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries that have since joined the European Union. In 2005, the geographical focus of the program shifted to South East Europe (SEE).

    East-West Management Institute (EWMI), a New York-based not-for-profit organization, is currently the primary implementing partner.

    The PFS Program is mandated to fill remaining gaps in the institutional development of the financial sector in CEE and SEE countries through regional integration and cooperation, selective technical assistance programs and the practical application of lessons learned in neighboring countries. The substantive areas covered under the PFS Program are: accounting, auditing, banking, capital markets, insurance and pension reform. For more information, please visit the PFS Program website at www.pfsprogram.org

  • For more information, please contact:

    Geoffrey Mazullo Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program

    For more from this organization:

    Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program

     

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