Just Seventeen: Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting Is Still at a Formative Stage, and British Businesses Are Disclosing Differing Levels of Information in a Variety of Ways in the Absence of Mandatory Standards. Samuel Idowu and Brian Towler Study a Stream of Conscientiousness from 17 Companies to Compare How and What They Report

By Idowu, Samuel; Towler, Brian | Financial Management (UK), December 2003 | Go to article overview

Just Seventeen: Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting Is Still at a Formative Stage, and British Businesses Are Disclosing Differing Levels of Information in a Variety of Ways in the Absence of Mandatory Standards. Samuel Idowu and Brian Towler Study a Stream of Conscientiousness from 17 Companies to Compare How and What They Report


Idowu, Samuel, Towler, Brian, Financial Management (UK)


Businesses around the world have recognised that they can gain enormous benefits if they are seen to be socially responsible. The corporate social responsibility (CSR) report is the medium that UK firms use to disclose their activities in this area, but what level of information do they communicate to the public?

In a recent study, we telephoned 30 companies with registered offices in the UK. Only 17 of them responded to our request for their latest CSR reports. From these, we noted that there were two distinct reporting practices. Seven of the firms issued a stand-alone document and the other 10 simply devoted a section of their main annual report and accounts to CSR (see table, page 27). Our analysis of each firm's disclosures is summarised as follows.

Balfour Beatty

The construction company has a stand-alone report of 40 pages divided into sections covering topics such as sustainability, health and safety, the environment and social issues.

It identifies 17 milestones that the group reached last year and a number of goals for 2003. Six of its operating companies achieved level four in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents audit scheme (level five is the best). There were six fatalities across the group in 2002--one more than in file previous year--although safety training has been stepped up.

Balfour Beatty is listed on the Business in the Environment Index and several of its operating companies are now ISO14001-certified. The report states that the group is making more effort to ensure that it identifies all stakeholders and fulfils its responsibilities to them.

Barclays Bank

The bank's stand-alone report, which has been verified by SGS, an independent specialist in ethical auditing, starts by listing its 10 key CSR achievements in 2002. For instance, Barclays became the first UK bank to receive ISO14001 environmental certification; it set up a global diversity council to ensure equal opportunities in its operations worldwide; it offered employees in Botswana and Zambia free confidential HIV/Aids testing; and it reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 10.2 per cent in the UK.

Barclays has a director whose key responsibility is CSR. The bank is included in a number of external indices of responsible companies, including the Dow Jones Sustainability index, the Stoxx Sustainability index and FTSE4Good. It subscribes to the principles enshrined in the UN's universal declaration on human rights and the International Labour Organisatinn's conventions on minimum working age, health and safety, working hours and discrimination.

BG Group

The utilities giant includes its CSR disclosures within the annual accounts. It divides these into four sections: business principles; health, safety, security and the environment; HR management; and community involvement.

During 2002 BG received ISO14001 certification for its operations in Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt., Ireland, Northern Ireland, Trinidad & Tobago and the US (Phoenix, Arizona).

The report states that the group makes voluntary and contractual contributions to the communities it supplies, sponsors local groups and runs employee involvement programmes. BG operates a payroll giving scheme and also undertakes social impact assessments, develops community relationships and contributes to sustainable development programmes. The BG Energy Challenge, for instance, has raised more than 1 million [pounds sterling] for charities since its inception in 1996, and the company is also a member of Care International UK, a global humanitarian aid organisation.

Bradford and Bingley

The former building society devotes a three-page section in its annual report and accounts to CSR. This states that the company has adopted the Forge Group framework for CSR management and reporting for the financial services sector, as recommended by the British Bankers' Association.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Just Seventeen: Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting Is Still at a Formative Stage, and British Businesses Are Disclosing Differing Levels of Information in a Variety of Ways in the Absence of Mandatory Standards. Samuel Idowu and Brian Towler Study a Stream of Conscientiousness from 17 Companies to Compare How and What They Report
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.