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Financial Reporting Assignment - Social and Environmental Reporting - Essay Example

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For the purpose of this paper Wal-Mart’s Global Sustainability Report for 2009 will be used. Social and environmental reporting has to be both a faithful representation of facts and neutral in presentation. Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retail chain with…
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Financial Reporting Assignment - Social and Environmental Reporting

In fact the company calls itself “a leader in sustainability”, one of the most important aspects in determining an organization’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and good social and environmental reporting.
Faithful representation is defined as "correspondence or agreement between the accounting measures or descriptions in financial reports and the economic phenomena they purport to represent" (www.goliath.ecnext.com). On the other hand neutrality is defined as “the avoidance of bias in selection and presentation of information and balanced in accounts of performance” (www.plan.aau.dk). Wal-Mart has been questioned by many critics and environmental experts on its CSR policies and initiatives that include its commitment to using only the renewable energy. In fact the critics argue that there are factual errors and inadequacies in these reports published by Wal-Mart. For instance the recent SERs published by the company lack accuracy and the gaps are obviously disturbing in some instances. The degree of faithful representation in Wal-Mart’s SERs needs to be examined against the backdrop of its commitment to sustainability. The concept of environmental sustainability is associated with CSR policies and initiatives of the company. For example Wal-Mart claims to care for its 2.1 million associates, as the employees are called here, on a basis of equanimity and the extended families of these associates are entitled to the same degree of care.
The problems that Wal-Mart is faced with in its SERs can be regarded as those directly related to faithful representation and neutrality in preparing those documents. Thousands of retail stores operating under many domains in many countries are naturally prone to making mistakes in gathering data and representing facts.
Despite Wal-Mart’s efforts to integrate the global operations by using a single platform ... Read More
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