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Corporate social responsibility reporting - Essay Example

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Corporate social responsibility reporting

CSER also commonly plays a central role in presenting a good picture of corporate accountability. For a long time now, CSER has been used as the best tool to encourage corporate strategies, policies and management decisions aimed at minimization of adverse environmental impacts of companies’ operations (UNEP, 1998). Since the development of the practices of corporate social environmental reporting in the early 1990s, the reporting has largely been accomplished through communications or disclosures within annual company reports. The disclosure provides information about the environmental (social) policies and practices and the impacts of the reporting company to the environment in which it operates. According to Deegan (2007), corporate social and environmental reporting has developed and become widespread over the past three decades, with these developments the disclosures by some companies have become more extensive to communicate and thus companies often publish the disclosures in a separate social and environmental report. Corporate social and environmental reporting has grown particularly because of two main factors. Both factors are borne out of the fact that businesses and companies operate within the physical environment and space that is owned by society. First, Companies produce CSER reports to enhance their corporate image as a marketing tool. The second factor that influences the growth of CSER reporting is the increasing legal requirement by governments across the world for such disclosures to be made for the good of the environment (Yip et al., 2011). This paper examines whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports provide shareholders and stakeholders with useful information on corporate social and environmental performance or are they merely a public relations tool to benefit the Companies. Evolution of Corporate Social Environmental Reporting (CSER) It is estimated that reporting on social and environmental issues has been done by Companies ever since financial reporting started. This is largely because environmental reporting has been required to meet regulatory obligations (Sutantoputra, 2009). Social and environmental issues, including material costs of regulatory compliance and probable losses due to litigation were disclosed since the early years of corporate annual reports for purposes of financial accountability. However, in the past three decades, there has been a significant increase in the public demand for social and environmental information from Companies. This has largely been driven by increasing public awareness, pressure from stakeholders, and social concern on environmental disasters and fair labor practices (Rahman et al., 2005). Although the demand for corporate social and environmental reporting has greatly increased in the past three decades, it is evident that public concerns about environmental issues related to production started as far back as the mid 1960s (Yip et al., 2011). At that time, claims that technological advances and rapid depletion of resources were adversely affecting the environment led to calls for increased accountability from the corporate community. It is at this time that activist groups and Non-Governmental Organizations such as Greenpeace came up to help in the public push towards more accountability by companies. In the early 1970s, companies began implementing social and environmental goals and making public their findings, CSR became introduced about this time. The two decades between 1970 and 1990 served as the first ...Show more

Summary

Social and environmental reporting is also known as corporate social responsibility reporting.According to UNEPcorporate social responsibility reporting can also be defined as an environmental management strategy …
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