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The Largest Listed Companies in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) Disclose More Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Data

Submitted by: Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program

Categories: Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Oct 09, 2008 – 08:33 AM EST

 

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

WARSAW,POLAND. - October 9, 2008 – Today, the Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program publishes its 11th 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. This edition of the survey was co-financed by DWS Investments (Deutsche Bank Group). PFS Program Assistant Magdalena Grabowska, PFS Program Intern Tomasz Pieczyk (Poland), PFS Program Intern Nikola Smolcic (Croatia) and PFS Program Research Assistant Igor Solodovnik conducted the survey from July 1 through September 30, 2008.

Companies in Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia were surveyed for the 11th time; companies in Hungary and Poland were surveyed for the tenth time; and companies in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania were surveyed for the ninth time. Moreover, a fifth analysis of peer companies (the ten largest listed companies by market capitalization) in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) as well as Ukraine allows for ongoing benchmarking with these emerging market peers.

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. The surveys enable companies to benchmark their disclosure practices against peers on a national, industry and regional basis.

This survey analyzes companies' disclosures in English (in the English-language annual report and on the English-language company website) during the time period July 1 – September 15, 2008 on the following three topics: corporate governance, environmental policy and social policy. The record date for the disclosures is September 15, 2008.

This edition of the survey documents a higher level of online disclosure of corporate governance information, continuing the trend over the past five years. More information is also disclosed in the area of social policy, compared with the previous survey published in April 2008. Disclosure of information about environmental performance and environmental standards as well as energy and water use increased, albeit from still low levels; significant progress remains to be made by most companies in disclosing detailed environmental data.

Overall, companies in BRIC outperform CEE peers in terms of the availability of English-language websites and annual reports as well as specific disclosures in all three areas. For example, 80% of the BRIC companies surveyed disclose compliance with a corporate governance code in the annual report, compared with 54% in CEE. 65% of the BRIC companies surveyed disclose information about company-specific code of business conduct/code of ethics in the annual report, compared with 16% in CEE. In general, BRIC companies also provide more information on social policy and environmental policy. However, the gap in all three areas is narrowing. Due to the lack of a number of drivers, Ukrainian companies lag behind both BRIC and CEE peers in all areas. However, the number of Ukrainian companies with English-language annual reports and websites continues to increase as does the amount of information disclosed in all three categories.

Survey findings include the following:

  • 96% of the 110 CEE companies surveyed have an English-language website on the record date of September 15, 2008, compared with 96% in April 2008, 94.5 % in September 2007, 94% in April 2007, 94% in September 2006, 87% in April 2006, 89% in September 2005 and 82% in April 2005. In comparison, 100% of the BRIC companies surveyed and 70% of the Ukrainian companies surveyed have an English-language website.

  • 94% of the 110 CEE companies surveyed have a 2006/2007 English-language annual report online on the record date of September 15, 2008 compared with 100% in BRIC and 30% in Ukraine.

  • 71% of the 110 CEE companies surveyed disclose information on employee development/benefits in their annual reports available online. This is a significant increase over the 64% recorded in the previous four surveys.

  • Nine Polish, eight Slovene, eight Hungarian, six Estonian, five Czech, four Latvian, three Bulgarian companies, one Croatian, one Lithuanian and one Romanian company disclose information regarding compliance with a corporate governance code on the company website. Ten Estonian, nine Slovene, seven Polish, seven Czech, seven Lithuanian, six Slovak, five Bulgarian, four Hungarian, three Croatian, two Romanian companies disclose this information in the annual report. This is the first time since the survey was first conducted that more than 50% of the CEE companies surveyed disclose information regarding compliance with a corporate governance code in the annual report.

  • 34% of the 110 CEE companies surveyed disclose information on environmental performance in annual reports available on their website on September 15, 2008 compared with 30% in April 2008, 33% in September 2007, 13% in April 2007, 25% in September 2006, 18% in April 2006, 22% in September 2005, 24% in April 2005 and 27% in August 2004.

  • 28 of the 110 CEE companies surveyed (26%) publish a stand-alone English-language ESG report as of September 15, 2008. (This represents the same percentage as in the most recent survey, conducted in April 2008.) Of the 28 reports published in CEE on the current record date, 25 (89%) use recognized standards and eight (28%) include a third-party assurance statement.

  • 17 of the 40 BRIC companies surveyed (42.5%) publish a stand-alone English-language ESG report. Of the 17 reports published in BRIC, 15 (88%) use recognized standards and ten (59%) provide a third-party assurance. No Ukrainian company produces such a report as of the record date of September 15, 2008.
Note: The survey consists of the three following documents: a report of the survey findings presenting 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 BRIC and Ukraine.

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/capitalmarkets_research.php

For more information, please contact:

Geoffrey Mazullo Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program
Phone: 00 48 22 620 5798

For more from this organization:

Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program

 

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