The PFS Program publishes its second semi-annual Survey of Reporting on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the 10 Largest Listed Companies (by Market Capitalization) in Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. The survey was conducted by PFS Program Interns Katarzyna Hanula and Marek Korycki.
The survey provides current data concerning companies’ disclosures on a range of CSR issues as of April 15, 2004 and a comparison with the previous survey conducted in August 2003. Comparative data from the previous year is not available for Hungarian and Polish companies, since the surveys conducted in those countries in 2003 analyzed information provided in Hungarian and Polish respectively. Additionally this survey analyzes disclosures related to corporate governance codes in those countries with such a code, i.e. Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. The survey conducted in 2003 did not analyze such disclosures, because a corporate governance code either did not yet exist or had only recently been issued in the respective country.
The survey demonstrates that disclosures on CSR issues increased significantly over the past six months. Survey findings include the following:
85% of the companies surveyed have an English language website;
76% of the companies surveyed provide an English-language annual report for 2002 or 2003;
59% of the companies surveyed mention employee development or benefits policy;
51% of the companies surveyed note compliance with environmental standards; and
20% of the companies surveyed disclose information regarding compliance with a Corporate Governance Code.
Comparative findings include the following:
In April 2004, 40% of the companies surveyed disclosed information regarding the environmental impact of their operations; in August 2003, only 22% of companies surveyed provided this information.
In April 2004, 36% of the companies surveyed provided audit-related information on their website; in August 2003 only 13% of companies surveyed provided this information;
Two significant factors influenced the improved results observed in this survey. First, several stock exchanges implemented corporate governance codes in 2003 and 2004. These codes provide an additional impetus/pressure to disclose a variety of data. Second, Hungary and Poland are covered by this regional survey for the first time and the above-average disclosures of Hungarian and Polish companies improved the general (regional) averages. For example, excluding Hungary and Poland, the above-mentioned averages decline to 30% (environmental impact) and 35% (audit-related information) respectively. Nevertheless, even without including these countries, a marked improvement can be observed.
Starting today, the survey is available online at:
About the Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program
The Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program, established in December 1999, is a cooperative program of the United States Department of State and East-West Management Institute (EWMI), a New York-based non-profit organization. Active in the Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the PFS Program is mandated to fill remaining gaps in the institutional development of the financial sector 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.
Conceptually, PFS Program activities share ideas, experiences learned and policy recommendations with the goal of strengthening existing and building new institutions to further advance financial sector reform. Also, the PFS Program is mandated to identify and promote the implementation of best practices and international standards in the above-mentioned financial sectors. All PFS Program activities are regional in nature and include a cost-sharing element on the part of local institutions. For more information, visit the PFS Program website at www.ewmi.hu/activities_pfs.html.